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OSMANIA UNIVERSITY LIBRARY 

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REBUILDING 

LIBERATED>RUSSIA 


BY 


Professor N. VORONIN 



KITAB MAHAL 

AtLAHABAD 



First Published in India, 1945 


Printed by M. Manzur Ahmad, at the 
Modern Printing Works, allahabad 
and Published by Kitab Mahal, 
56-A, Zero Road, Allahabad. 



PREFACE TO THE INDIAN EDITION 

One of the biggest problems that Russia has to 
face now is the reconstruction and rebuilding of the 
ruined, destroyed and devastated cities and villages. 
Nazi attack and scorched earth policy ruined many 
of the best Russian pieces of art and architect, in- 
dustry and agriculture. But the Soviet people and 
their technical, economic and political leaders are 
bent upon the rebuilding a new and better Soviet life 
on the ashes of the old. 

'iMuch energy, acumen, intelligence and foresight 
are required to make and execute successfully the 
future industrial, agricultural and other plans in 
the post-war period in India. Our technical leaders 
and industrial magnets can learn a lot from the 
experience and knowledge of thd Soviet people. 

Be it Gandhiji’s fourteen points or Tata Birla 
plan of Bombay, only that scheme or plan can be 
successful which like Soviet Union takes into con- 
sideration only material and moral welfare of the 
peoples of the land. 

This small booklet is strongly recommended to 
those who are really interested in the economic, 
social and political welfare of the India’s teeming 
millions. 


Publishers. 



CONTENTS 


Ohap. Page 

I. The Country and the Invaders ... 1 

II. The Task of Reconstruction ... ... 9 

III. Rebuilding the Residential* Sections of 

the Town ... ... ... 18 

IV. Town Planning ... ... ... 25 

V. The Rebuilding of Stalingrad ... 29 

VI. The Rebuilding of Rostov-on-Don 

and Voronezh ... ... 36 

VII. The Rebuilding of Kalinin, Smolensk 

and Istra* ... ... ... 41 

VIII. Rebuilding the Ukraine ... ... 49 

IX. Rebuilding the Villages ... ... 58 

X. Equipment of Material ... ... 66 

XI. Help from the Rear Areas ... ... 77 

XII. The Restoration of Soviet Culture in 

the Liberated Regions ... ... 87 

Conclusion ... ... ... 102 



CHAPTER I 


THE COUNTRY AND THE INVADERS 

As an historian and a specialist in ancient Russian 
architecture I should like to preface what is for me 
an unusual little booklet with a few remarks on the 
history of Russia for this is not the first time that 
our country has been the scene of gigantic battles of 
world importance fought against foreign invaders 
who sought to rob the people of their liberty and 
independence. The first centuries of the history of 
the young Russian State were filled with the raids of 
the Polovtsi and the Pechenegs, the vultures of the 
steppes ; Hungarians and Poles made efforts to obtain 
the rich lands of Galicia-Wolhynia in the 12th and 
13th centuries ; the terrific onslaught of the Mongols 
in the 13th century was the cause of tremendous loss, 
it checked the development of the Great Russian 
centre and led Russia’s western neighbours to believe 
that it would be an easy matter to seize the lands of 
the free towns of Novgorod and Pskov. Towns and 
villages were lain waste by invaders who strove to 
turn the rich country into a desert and its people into 
their slaves. The Germans and Swedes were checked 
in the 13th century by the people’s armies led by the 
great captain. Alexander Nevsky, while the 150 years’ 
oppression of the Mongols war expiated in the 14th 
century blood-bath at. Kulikova when Dmitry Dons- 
koy’s Russian army routed Mamai’s hordes. At the 
beginning of the l?th century Poles and Swedes took 
advantage of the internal situation to invade Russia j 
the Poles even occupied the Moscow Kremlin and 
foreign observers considered that the end of the State 
of Muscovy had come. The Russian people, however, 
proved themselves capable of withstanding this new 
trial and under the banner raised by Minin and 



t 


REBUILDING LIBERATED RUS8IA 


Pozharsky they sallied forth and drove the hated in- 
vaders out of Russia. 

Two centuries later Napoleon sat in a room in 
that same Moscow Kremlin and watched the great 
conflagration that preceded the rout of his seemingly 
invincible “grande armee” and marked the beginning 
of his end as a soldier. In our own time the peoples 
of the young Soviet Republic withstood the terrible 
trial of the Civil War and during the two decades 
that followed, built up a new way of life and a new 
country which took its place amongst the foremost 
powers of the world. This last fact has been proved 
true by the events of the present war, the Great 
Patriotic War, as we call it in Russia, with its battles 
on a scale never before known in history, battles like 
Stalingrad, Orel, Kursk, the Crimea, the North 
Caucasus, Leningrad and the Dnieper. 

I am not reminding the reader of these already 
well-known events in the history of my country in 
order to confirm that which requires no further proof 
after the great battles that were fought on the 
Eastern Front during 1943 and 1944. I want to talk 
about something else. All these wars with their 
terrible destruction, fought on Russian soil, left her 
devastated and ruined, defenceless villages were 
razed to the ground, forests overgrew the farmland^, 
artisans fled to the interior of the country ; it seemefi 
that life had ceased to exist in the devastated regions 
where the enemy had done his evil work. * 

When we ponder over these facts we involuntarily 
compare the 13th century Mongol hordes with those 
of the modern barbarians, the fascists. They are 
naturally not to be compared as regards tho level of 
their technique of war — Hitler has been very aptly 
termed the mechanised Tamerlane ; their barbaric 
methods of enslaving the conquered peoples, however, 
bqar a very close resemblance. They consisted of 
laying waste the country and turning it into either 



THE COUNTRY AND THE INVADERS 3 

an expanse of open land for the Mongol nomads, or 
landed estates for the German masters, of wrecking 
towns and villages, of lowering the national dignity 
of the people, destroying their monuments of art and 
antiquity, of killing the most progressive people and 
leaving the remainder of the population, badly 
shaken by bloody terror, as working cattle or slaves 
for the higher race. In all this the principle is the 
same although the scale on which it was carried out 
was vastly different. The Germans have advanced 
far beyond all the barbarians in world history for 
they have raised barbarity to a political dogma and 
armed it with all the monstrous destructive power of 
modern engines of war. The destruction wrought by 
the Mongols in the 13th century seems like native 
playfulness when compared with what Hitler’s un- 
successful “new order” left behind on the lands of 
the Soviet peoples. The Mongols destroyed the very 
much simpler culture of the 12th and 13th centuries 
with its buildings of a more elementary nature and 
an economy based on exchange between feudal town 
and village. Hitler’s soldiery set themselves the 
task of destroying the high material culture of the 
socialist state, its flourishing towns, its state and 
dollective'farms, its mighty power stations, its whole 
world of buildings and those monuments of art and 
national culture that were protected as the most 
treasured heritage of our ancestors. 

As they retreated under the blows of the Red 
Army the Germans wiped out towns and villages 
£hat were of no military significance and were not 
the scene of operations. This was the fulfilment of 
their devilish idea of completely destroying life on 
the territory they abandoned and of leaving behind 
them nothing but the ashes of huge conflagrations. 
Special detachments of incendiaries set fire to 
Wooden buildings, sappers mined the bigger brick edi- 
fices, public and administrative buildings, monuments 
of art and of the past. The gendarmes and guards 



4 


REBUILDING LIBERATED RUSSIA 


shot down people who tried to extinguish the fires. 
The consistent planned methods which were employed 
to carry out this hellish work of destruction were so 
complete that a large number of towns and numerous 
villages were completely wiped out. There is no 
doubt that this deliberate “policy” of looting and 
arson brought the country greater losses than the 
work of the German Luftwaffe and artillery. 

Here are a few figures which will give the reader 
an idea of the tremendous losses that the Germans 
wrought in Soviet towns and villages in the sphere 
of architecture alone. 

In the Russian Soviet Federative Republic the 
Germans destroyed about 500 towns and factory 
settlements and over 14,000 villages. 

In the occupied districts of Moscow Region the 
Germans destroyed 2,280 villages, burnt down 47,246 
collective farmers’ homes and 12,000 urban dwellings ; 
they destroyed 46,000 farm buildings, 1,000 schools, 
700 village reading rooms, clubs, etc. A special com- 
mission has established the amount of destruction 
done in Moscow Region alone at 7,125,358,000 and the 
total damage done in the Russian Soviet Republic at 

25.000 million rubles. 

In Smolensk Region the Germans completely des- 
troyed or burnt to the ground 12 towns, .8 factory 
settlements, 10 district centres and 2,000 villages. 
The buildings destroyed were 100,000 urban apart- 
ments, 220,000 collective farmers houses, 28,500 farm 
buildings, 870 industrial buildings (out of the 900 that 
existed before the war), all the 236 power stations 
and countless other buildings. Out of Smolensk City’s 

8.000 houses with their total floors pace of 650,000 
square metres, the Germans destroyed or burnt down 
7,200 ; they wrecked the tramway system, the water 
mains, the power station, 27 hospitals and other 
medical institutions. 25 nurseries, all the schools and 
numerous other buildings. The total damage done to 



THE COUNTRY AND THE INVADERS 


s 


municipal enterprises, communications and trading 
organisations in Smolensk amounts to over 
700,000,000 rubles, damage to industry amounts 
to a further 300,000,000 rubles, to railways, 
60,500,000 rubles and damage to medical institutions 
is estimated at 70,000,000 rubles. 

In Novgorod 40 buildings survived out of 2,346 ; 
the Germans destroyed 12 industrial enterprises, 
wr ecked the town water supply system and the town 
pow er station and transmission lines ; they burnt 
dow n the museum building, 4 colleges and a technical 
institute, 5 workers’ clubs, 2 cinemas, the town 
theatre, the Red Army club and 11 medical institu- 
tions. In the Novgorod district 7,335 buildings out of 
8,849 were destroyed or badly damaged and 75 out 
of the 76 schools were burnt down. 

Now that the Ukraine has been completely liberated 
from the enemy, a full account of the damage done 
will be drawn up. In the meantime, we will quote a 
few figures that have been established by the 
Extraordinary State Commission and local authorities. 
By fire and explosives the Germans destroyed the 
main street of Kiev, Kreschatik, and the finest build- 
ings in the adjoining streets. They destroyed 940 
buildings belonging to municipal and state institutions 
with a total floor space of over a million square 
meters, 2,600 dwelling houses belonging to private 
persons with a total floor space of about 500,000 
square metres. The fascists blew up, burnt or destroyed 
all Kiev’s public utilities leaving the city without 
water, light or transport. An area of 125 acres 
containing from 5 to 7 kilometres of streets was com- 
pletely destroyed in Kiev. 

According to the incomplete data available the 
ruined buildings in 19 districts of Orel region are : 583 
buildings belonging to state institutions, 317 industrial 
buildings, 316 railway buildings, 881 schools and 
other cultural institutions, 181 medical institutions, 



6 


REBUILDING LIBERATED RUSSIA 


284 municipal building's, 493 trading establishments 
and 58,866 farm buildings. 

In the towns of Stalino Region, Donetz Basin, 8,412 
dwelling houses, 302 schools, 143 kindergartens and 
nurseries were destroyed. In Sumi Region, 9,000 
collective farm buildings and 35,460 farmers houses 
were destroyed and 96 villages were burnt to the 
ground. 

As far as has been established the Germans des- 
troyed buildings in the Ukraine with a total floor 
space of four million square metres. 

These figures, taken only as an example, give an 
impressive picture of devastation in the regions from 
which the enemy has been expelled and at the same 
time show the difficulty and the tremendous scale of 
the work of rehabilitation. 

The work of reconstruction is already so well 
under way and is going forward at a speed and with 
such intensity that it astounds those who are 
participating as well as those who are merely wit- 
nesses to the work. Here again I would like for a 
brief moment to glance back at the history of our 
people in order to explain much that is at first glance 
incomprehensible in this tremendous outburst of 
creative labour. I would like to remind my readers 
that throughout the many centuries of Russian history 
and always in times of great trouble the people have 
mustered strength enough to contain the enemy 
and make his victories the prelude to his defeat ; 
the people have, furthermore, always been able to 
muster sufficient creative energy to bring their devas- 
tated lands back to life, to raise the walls and the 
temples of the towns, rebuild the villages of log 
cabins that formed their world and raise new 
harvests from fields that had run wild. Foreigners 
have always been astonished at this tremendous 
reconstructive strength displayed by our people, a 
strength which they could not understand. Towns of 



THE COUNTRY AND THE INVADERS 


wooden houses, burnt down time after time, reappear- 
ed again at fabulous speed, new >nd more beautiful 
dwellings and churches arose in place of the old. 
The motive force behind this continual building was 
the love which the Russian bears for his native land 
his hearth and home and that of his fathers. This 
“reconstruction” of what had been destroyed was 
something in which the whole people took part for 
every adult was skilled in the art of carpentry and 
the century-old artistic and technical traditions that 
went with it. 

It was this widespread skill in building and the 
almost continuous building activities in town and 
village that long ago led to the adoption of import- 
ant new technical methods, methods which we have, 
as it were, discovered anew in our own day. Adam 
Oleary, a traveller who visited Moscow in 1634, 
writes an astonishing account of pre-fabricated 
houses for sale on the Moscow market ; the timber had 
been cut and fitted in the thickly-wooded districts 
and floated down the rivers to Moscow. A century 
earlier than this, in 1551, Ivan the Terrible’s military 
engineers built a whole fortress of logs, dismantled 
it and floated it down the rivers to within the pre- 
cincts of the Khanate of Kazan and then re-erected 
it with astonishing rapidity on the banks of the 
River Sviyaga. The two instances that have by 
chance been handed down in history remind us very 
strongly of the factory-made pre-fabricated houses 
greatly in favour today. 

When you recall these and many other similar 
facts from the history of Russia, you begin to see 
that there is a kind of historical law governing the 
magnificent building work in which the whole people 
are taking part and which has developed under our 
very eyes in the regions of the Soviet Union that 
have been liberated from fascist occupation. 



8 REBUILDING LIBERATED RUSSIA 

This potential “reconstructive strength” which his- 
tory has inculcated in the Russian people and which 
seems to have become a national trait, has been 
greatly increased by conditions of life in the Soviet 
period. In the great work of reconstruction all the 
brother peoples of the Union stand shoulder to should- 
er with the Russians. The will of the people to victory 
and to bring about the rebirth of their towns and 
factories, villages and fields in the shortest possible 
time has been given greater strength and has been 
organised by the people’s government of the country ; 
the leading people of the country are enrolled in the 
party of Lenin and Stalin, the party which the people 
love and which is not only leading the people on the 
field of battle and on the field of labour but also 
learns from the people, has a fine feeling for the 
ideas and emotions of the people and their expe- 
rience of life and in conquering all difficulties. Only 
when we remember all this can we understand 
and give a just assessment of the great deeds of 
labour heroism of which the rebuilding of Stalingrad 
is an example, where the struggle begun on the 
field of battle is being continued on the field of 
labour. “The Patriotic War has proved that the 
Soviet people are capable of performing miracles 
and emerging victorious from the most difficult 
trial”, said Marshal Stalin. 



CHAPTER II 


THE TASK OF RECONSTRUCTION 

The needs of wartime and of the war itself pro- 
vided Soviet architects with a number of new 
problems directly connected with war, such as the 
building of defensive works, the camouflage of towns 
and isolated industrial enterprises, etc. During the 
first two years of the war our architects were fully 
employed in helping strengthen the military might 
of the country, working in the army engineering 
units and at the headquarters of Civil Defence 
in the cities. When the liberation of the German- 
occupied regions began, the country and its builders 
were confronted with a new task, a task no less 
honourable but a thousand times bigger and more 
difficult — that of organising and accomplishing and 
in the shortest possible time the building of towns 
and villages that the German barbarians had des- 
troyed and of making possible a return to normal 
economic and industrial life. This task was 
formulated briefly and with great clarity by Marshall 
Stalin in a speech delivered on 6th November, 1943, 
on the occasion of the 26th anniversary of the 
October Revolution. “In the areas where the 
fascist cut-throats have for a time been masters, we 
shall have to restore the demolished towns and vil- 
ages, industry, transport, agriculture and cultural 
institutions ; we shall have to create normal living 
conditions for the people delivered from fascist 
slavery. ..We must completely eliminate the conse- 
quences of the Germans’ domination in the districts 
liberated from German occupation. This is a great 
national task. We can and must cope with this 
difficult task within a short time.” 

The fact that the country began reconstruction 
without waiting for the end of this gigantic war , 



10 


REBUILDING LIBERATED RUSSIA 


made it necessary to plan and carry out the work 
under very special conditions. After the preliminary 
work had been done to provide the minimum of food, 
water and shelter for the people, those factories which 
either directly or indirectly could help supply the 
needs of the front had to be rebuilt. As an example 
of this we may take Rostov on Don ; within one 
month o f liberation the tobacco factory started work 
and by the first anniversary of the city’s liberation, 
14th February, 1944, 105 industrial enterprises were 
working. The Ukrainian sugar refineries rebuilt 
during 1943-1944 provided 28,000 tons of sugar for 
the army at the front and for the needs of the 
country. This d^es not mean that everything else 
had to go by the board ; the especial feature of 
socialist construction is the effort made to surround 
these factories with dwelling houses and other build- 
ings necessary for the comfort and recreation of 
the people to the greatest possible extent under the 
conditions obtaining. 

On the 21st August, 1943, a joint instruction was 
issued by the Council of People’s Commissars and 
the C°ntral Committee of the Communist Party or 
the Soviet Union on “Some Urgent Measures to be 
Adopted for the Restoration of the Economy of the 
Regions Liberated from German Occupation”, which 
was in reality an extensive state plan for the work 
of restoration. The rebuilding of dwelling houses 
was dealt widi in Article VII of the Instructions 
“Measures for Assisting the Restoration and Building 
of Dwelling Houses for Collective Farmers and 
Factory and Office Workers”. In this Article stress 
is laid on the organisation of the production of 
building materials from local raw material resources 
such »s terra-cotta blocks, breeze blocks, limestone, 
tiles, alabaster, gypsum, roofing shale, etc. ; on the 
construction of 13 lactories for the production of 
pre-fabricated houses, the distribution of timber and 



THE TASK OF RECONSTRUCTION 


II 


the apportioning of credits for individual builders in 
the rural areas. In the national budget and in the 
budgets of the towns for 1943 huge sums were 
allotted for reconstruction work. 

Under these circumstances the planning and 
organisation of reconstruction work required greater 
attention than ever before from government bodies. 

Shortly after the above instructions had been 
issued, a “Committee on Architecture” was organised 
by the Council of People’s Commissars (30-9*1943) ; 
this is a central architectural body whose duty 
inc'udes “improving architectural work” and 
“exercising government control over the architecture 
and planning necessary to reconstruct the towns and 
other commun’ties that have been destroyed by the 
German invaders”. The work of all architectural 
studies and other organisation throughout the 
country comes under the control of the committee. 
In the com tituent and autonomous republics of the 
Union and in a number of large towns Architectural 
Boards have been established ; a large network of 
architects’ bodies has been organised under the 
committee’s control up to and including Chief City 
Architects’ Departments. This widespread network 
of state organisations will undertake the fulfilment 
of the numerous tasks connected with reconstruction 
and new construction ; they will approve the plan- 
ning of towns, the designs for the most important 
buildings, designs for model houses and the rate at- 
which the building of dwelling houses is to be under- 
taken. Architectural Boards will also approve 
prefabricated parts for interior and exterior decora- 
tion, equipment of buildings, the quality of building 
work and will organise the training of architects- 
and workers for the building and allied industries. 
Designs for the most important installations, instruc- 
tions and other legislative measures for the improve- 
ment of building work will be submitted to the* 



12 


REBUILDING LIBERATED RUSSIA 


Council of People’s Commissars of the U. S. S. R. for 
approval through the medium of the Committee on 
Architecture. 

Other architectural and designing bureaus belong- 
ing to the various People’s Commissariats and newly 
formed local bodies are also being drawn into the 
wo'k of reconstruction. Special People’s Commis- 
sariats of the Building Materials Industry have been 
set up in all the Constituent Republics of the Union. 
For the gigantic work of rebuilding Stalingrad a 
special reconstruction Board has been set up which 
is the local headquarters guiding the work. Building 
trusts, architects’ studios and “architects’ brigades” 
have been organised in all the liberated towns to 
direct the work of reconstruction. 

All these state organisational measures taken 
together fulfil the purpose of simplifying and 
rationalising building work and subordinating it to 
one centre of control ; this is particularly necessary 
in view of the fact that while reconstruction is going 
on the country is still prosecuting a gigantic war. 

Such stat6 guidance in architectural work has 
no parallel in the history of the world although in 
the past history of Russia we again find something 
closely resembling it. After the fierce struggle of 
the Civil War and intervention at the beginning of 
the 17th century the Chancellory of Building (Prikaz 
Kammennykh Del), which included all the country’s 
best building workers from the leading architects 
down to simple stone-masons and bricklayers, sent 
out contingents of workers to erect the most import- 
ant buildings in the country ; this Chancellory played 
an important part in increasing the defence potential 
of the country and building up her cities. The idea 
of the exercise of state control over national building 
schemes is typical of Russian culture. The same idea 
was applied by Peter the Great when he built St. 
Petersburg, a city whose later history is an example 



THE TASK OF RECONSTRUCTION 


15 


of the planned development of a city as a uniform 
ensemble. All these measures taken in the past, 
however, dealt only with the building of the biggest 
cities. Modern planning embraces the whole country, 
town and village alike. 

This fact confronts the architects with a number 
of entirely new problems. Until recent times archi- 
tects have not paid much attention to the building 
of small provincial towns, to say nothing of villages 
the small towns and villages were built by the people, 
by carpenters and bricklayers who built according to 
tradition, following ways of life and aesthetic 
requirements which arose long ago. The architect is 
now called on to play his part in this creative work 
of the people and he is the important role of organiser 
and rationaliser. 

The villages and provincial towns of Russia were 
built gradually and did not require large quantities 
of building material or large numbers of workers ; 
building, for example, did not exhaust the timber 
resources of the region concerned and the small 
output of local brickfields and stone quarries was 
always sufficient. Construction on a huge scale 
during the period ot the Stalin Five-Year Plans, 
the period of peaceful socialist construction as we 
call it in our country, provided the necessary techni- 
cal basis for the work of the architect. Even these 
tremendous potentialities are insufficient for the task 
in hand today when we are faced with the problem 
of simultaneously rebuilding tens of thousands of 
village houses and subsidiary buildings and dwelling 
houses with millions of square kilometers of floor 
space^in hundreds of devastated towns. 

There are three important problems which arise 
out of the task of reconstruction : 

1. The scientific planning of model buildings of 
all types from village houses to big publio buildings 



14 REBUILDING LIBERATED RUSSIA 

£0 that they should be practical, rational and econo- 
mical to the maximum degree ; 

2. The problem of building materials, and 

3. The problem of planning the towns and villages 
that are being reconstructed. 

The problem of the provision of building materials 
may be considered a purely technical problem, but 
problems concerning the reconstruction of dwelling 
houses and whole communities are much more com- 
plicated. It is not only a matter of rendering “first 
aid” to people who have suffered from the invasion of 
the barbarians but is a problem closely connected with 
the past and future lives of these people ; following 
directly in the wake of and even simultaneous to the 
measures adopted for “first aid” fundamental build- 
ing is being undertaken which will determine the 
way of life of the communities for dozens of years 
ahead ; in this the architects have to bear great 
responsibility to history and to future generations. 

Building work is being carried on by many peoples 
of our country — the Cossacks of the Kuban and the 
Don, the mountaineers of the North Caucasus, the 
Ukrainians of the Dnieper Basin, the Great Russians 
of Moscow and Smolensk, the Byelorussians of 
Polesaye, etc. The work of reconstruction must 
take into consideration the national building 
traditions of all these peoples, include them in the 
new plans, blend them competently with that which 
is new, rational and required by the present level of 
the science of domestic building with due considera- 
tion paid to the geographical and climatic peculiari- 
ties of each region. The architect who plans the 
new towns and villages must consider the historical 
traditions of. life and the building traditions of 
that particular district and retain in his designs 
everything that is rational and of historical value 
and everything that past experience dictates with 



THE TASK OP RECONSTRUCTIOH 


15 


regard to types of dwelling houses and peculiarities in 
town planning ; at the same time the town or village 
must form part of the landscape. The architecture 
of the new towns and villages must avoid standard- 
isation in the bad sense of the word for-this would 
rob the towns of their individuality ; he must adopt 
everything that is valued by the local inhabitants. 

The convenience, economic and aesthetic require- 
ments, customs and cultural needs of the people are 
the first rule that must be followed in reconstruction 
work. These points in the final analysis determine 
the nature of the design ; by respecting the past 
traditions of the people we do not mean that our re- 
construction work must become “archaeological 
restoration” ; our builders must also look forward 
boldly into the future. Reconstruction must also 
look forward boldly into the future. Reconstruction 
must improve and perfect the dwellings of the people, 
correct or radically change defects that have arisen in 
the planning, either from the point of view of conve- 
nience or aesthetics, in the towns and villages that the 
war has swept away. The growth of some towr.s may 
have to be checked on account of their already having 
developed to a tremendous size (Stalingrad, for 
example) ; the disposition of the industrial enterpri- 
ses in the towns must be examined and the more 
harmful industries removed to the outskirts ; internal 
transport facilities and their rational distribution, the 
possibility of the air transport of the future, etc., 
must all be considered. 

In drawing up his plan the builder-architect must 
be able to foresee the future, he must know and feel 
the direction which life in the country is taking and 
he must build so that his buildings and his towns may 
live and develop with the progress of life, not hinder- 
ing but assisting that progress at present-day rates. 
The basic plan, therefore, is one for the economic 
development of the towns for a period of 10 to 15 



16 


REBUILDING LIBERATED RU88IA 


years ahead ; one of the guiding rules for architects 
is to maintain contact with the people by means of 
exhibitions of designs, discussion with local organisa- 
tions and with the public and a careful consideration, 
of the ' suggestions and demands of the people. The 
plan which Academician Holtz has drawn up for the 
reconstruction of Smolensk, for instance, was sub- 
mitted to a mass meeting of the towns-people. The 
Smolensk Town Architect and the regional newspapers 
have called a number of conferences of the best 
builders and professional people of the town ; these 
conferences produced a number of valuable sugges- 
tions and amendments to the plan including the 
utilisation of waterways, the distribution of the 
industrial enterprises, and the lay out of the streets 
and squares. 

All these problems which have arisen are being 
solved by the Committee on Architecture set up by 
the Council of People’s Commissars of the U. S. S. R. 
and the architects’ and builders’ organisation in 
the localities, all of which are subordinate to the 
committee. 

An important role in the solution of our recons- 
truction problems is played by the Academy of 
Architecture and its research institutions, the 
institutes of Domestic Architecture, Public Buildings, 
Building Technique and Town Planning. The 
Academy has published a number of model designs 
and standards for reconstruction work in various 
parts of the U. S. S. R. a series of simple blue-prints 
and a number of designs for pre-fabricated houses. 

The Unipn of Soviet Architects is another organi- 
sation that is doing super work for the reconstruction 
of the devastated areas. It has 60 branches to which 
some 5,000 of the country’s best architects belong all 
of whom are working on the reconstruction of the 
liberated regions. On its own initiative and in 



THE TASK OF RECONSTRUCTION 


17 


accordance with government instructions, the Union 
works on special problems connected with reconstruc- 
tion, organises contests for the best designs, discusses 
them at conferences of architects and helps perfect 
the knowledge of architects in various special branches 
of their work, etc. The Union takes part in the work 
of those groups of architects who visit the liberated 
towns to help in the most urgent tasks of restoration. 


2 



CHAPTER III 


REBUILDING THE RESIDENTIAL 
SECTIONS OF THE TOWNS 

Immediately a town has been liberated the towns- 
people who have been hiding in woods, swamps, 
cellars and dug-outs begin to return ; people who have 
been living in evacuation return to their native 
hearths, drawn thither by love of their birthplace 
even though nothing remains of them but charred 
ruins. They live in odd corners of buildings that 
have survived, in the dugouts and trenches that 
remain behind the army and in hastily built huts. 
They are immediately confronted with the tremen- 
dous task of bringing their town back to life. 

One of the first and most urgent tasks, of great 
importance from a sanitary point of view, is the 
cleaning up of the towns the Germans have left. 
It is difficult to reconcile existing ideas on German 
cleanliness and accuracy with the terrible unsanitary 
condition in which they left our towns and villages ; 
there were rotting bodies of human beings and 
animals in the most unexpected places, the manholes 
in the water-mains were frequently choked with 
them, there were heaps of excrement around the 
dwelling houses from which a fearful stench came, 
latrines were built in the museums and churches and 
in general there was evidence of an attitude towards 
the elementary principles of culture and sanitation 
which is much lower than that of any animal. The 
towns-people had to remove all this in order to save 
the town from becoming a hotbed of infectious 
diseases. In the surviving houses and public buildings 
the enemy placed delayed action mines and fougasses 
so that the local .people, working together with the 



RESIDENT TAL SECTIONS OF THE TOWNS 


19 


sappers, had to remove all these infernal machines. 
Within the first 10 days after the liberation of 
Smolensk over 100,000 kilograms of aerial bombs, 
mines and charges of explosive were removed from 
what remained of the houses. 

In the early days of the liberation of a town when 
the people are combatting all these machinations of 
the enemy, they have to live without water supply, 
electric light and other communal services. Through 
all these difficulties and privations in this period of 
great sorrow, the Soviet people have remained calm 
and determined for they know that the whole people 
and their government will come to their help, that 
their sufferings will be eased and that they will 
receive help in putting an end to this life of hard- 
ship. The first care of the town authorities when a 
town has been liberated is to provide the people with 
that which is most essential, first and foremost, 
with shelter. 

The government instruction on “Urgent Mea- 
sures to be Adopted for the Restoration of the 
Economy of the Regions Liberated from German 
Occupation”, mentioned above, devotes considerable 
attention to the question of restoring the dwelling 
houses. 

Tho following few figures give some idea of the 
extent of state help in rebuilding the liberated towns. 
In 1943 over 10,000,000 rubles were expended on the 
rebuilding of the little town of Rzhev of which only 
2,879,800 came from the town budget ; the sum 
allotted for 1944 for the same town is 8,330,900 
rubles. In 1944 budget assigned 500,000,000 rubles 
for the rebuilding of the towns of the Ukraine. 

Considerable help in the building of dwelling 
houses is afforded by credits of 10,000 rubles repay- 
able in six or seven years, and supplies of building 



20 


REBUILDING LIBERATED RUSSIA 


material granted to individuals building their own 
houses. 

The nature of the building work which is now 
being carried on by the state, by various industrial 
concerns and by individuals is determined by the 
requirements and the possibilities of the town con- 
cerned. Reconstruction follows three main lines, 
all of which are put into operation simultaneously. 
(1) The provision of temporary quarters for the 
people (dug-outs, hutments and small pre-fabricated 
wooden houses) to satisfy the more urgent needs of 
the liberated population, the building workers and 
re-evacuated people ; (2) The building of ‘intermedi- 

ate” houses, greatly simplified in construction and 
limited as far as conveniences and floor space are 
concerned ; (3) The restoration of the old, damaged 
houses and the building of new houses of such a 
character as required for long service in a re-built 
city. 

In view of the tremendous work of providing not 
only the recaptured towns but also a large number of 
factory settlements with houses and the most primi- 
tive amenities (electric light, water supply from wells 
or standpipes, surfacing of roads), the one-storey 
house as a “transitory type” and, in some cases, as 
a permanent feature, is coming into its own. The 
comparative cheapness of the one-storey house an,d 
the rapidity with which large numbers of them can 
be built added to the fact that a bungalow of this 
type may be built on a lot some 400 to 600 square 
metres in extent allowing ample room for a private 
garden, makes them very popular. 

The interests of economy and rapidity of cons- 
truction made it necessary to design model houses 
of the bungalow type which can be either partially 
or completely pre-fabricated. Various designs were 
drawn up for bungalow houses containing one, two, 
four and more flats, the most effective use of floor 



RESIDENTIAL SECTIONS OF THE TOWNS 


21 


space was decided on, interior and exterior deco- 
ration were planned. By employing rooms of stand- 
ard sizes parts of the house can be pre-fabricated — 
interior walls, ceilings, joinery, etc. — while the outside 
walls of the house can be built of whatever material 
is available on the building site 6uch as timber, gravel 
and cement breeze blocks, gypsum, brick, etc., so that 
from 30% to 35% of the house is produced locally and 
65% to 70% is made in a factory belonging to the local 
building materials trust. Experience has shown that 
small houses must not be designed merely as a 
temporary measure but in such a way as permanent 
dwellings, that there is a possibility of increasing 
the floor space in the flats. Where single-storey 
wooden buildings are employed the floor space may 
always be increased by adding extra rooms of the 
lean-to type, a practice widely recorded to by the 
Russian people. One and two-storey houses built 
of standard blocks can be given additional floor 
space (about 20%) by rebuilding the attics as living 
quarters. The most advantageous of all is the small 
flat to be occupied by one family ; this obviates all 
the inconveniences of life in a large communal 
apartment. 

The work being done by architects’ organisations 
in designing model houses for factory settlements 
and small towns will have the effect of improving 
both the individual house and the town or settlement 
as a whole from the standpoint of their aesthetic and 
artistic qualities. This is the first time that experienc- 
ed architects have had anything to do with the 
building of small provincial towns and the knowledge 
and experience which they bring will result in a mark- 
ed improvement in provincial housing. Man^ model 
houses have been designed to embody the principles 
underlying the age-old architecture of the Russian 
people, simple in general appearance despite the 
wealth of decorative detail both inside and out. 



ii REBUILDING LIBERATED RU88IA 

For the time being strictly economical standards 
have to be adopted in planning houses and flats ; 
this is dictated by the exigencies ot' the times. Every- 
body realises that these standards do not come any- 
where near the ideal for a permanent residence. In 
the bigger permanent buildings that are being 
erected the government demands of the architects 
that the standards of floor space, conveniences and 
design should come up to the standard that will be 
expected for a period of at least ten years after the 
war. Pre-war building experience has provided us with 
sufficient good examples of dwelling houses which 
vary greatly in size and in type. 

Now a few figures concerning the rate at which 
towns are being rebuilt. 

By the beginning of December 1943, nine months 
after the Battle of Stalingrad, the city already had a 
population of 223,000 people. By that time dwelling 
houses with a total floor space of 400,000 square metres 
had been either repaired or newly built; here again 
bouse-building by individuals who had been granted 
lonf -term credits by the government played an 
important part. Individual builders erected 10,000 
houses. Workers are erecting their own timber 
houses in accordance with blue-prints issued by 
architects’ studios. In 1944 it is planned to build a 
further 9,000 small houses of this type. In Dne- 
propetrovsk, where the Germans destroyed 4,843 
dwelling houses, buildings with a total floor space 
of 20,000 square metres had been restored by April 
1944. In Kharkov, where the Germans destroyed 
1,401,000 square metres of floor space the 1944 build- 
ing plan calls for the rehabilitation of 370,000 square 
metres 4 , during four months of the building season 
169,400 square metres was rebuilt of which 48,000 
square metres was rebuilt by the occupants of the 
houses themselves. In Rzhev about 1,000 houses 
had been rebuilt (floor space 64,000 square metres) 



RESIDENTIAL SECTIONS OF THE TOWNS 23 

by April 1944; in addition a number of public, build- 
ings and industrial organisations were reconstructed. 
During 10 months of 1943 a total of 12*726 living 
quarters were rebuilt in the factory settlements and 
district centres of Smolensk Region and 34,314 people 
took possession of them. In the towns and factory 
settlements of Kalinin Region where the Germans 
destroyed and burnt down 779,000 square metres of 
floor space in dwelling houses 264,000 square metres 
were rebuilt during 1942 and 8 months of 1943. On 
the 1st January, 1944, there was a government check- 
up of the work of restoration. The inspection 
showed that in 9 regions 326,461 houses had been 
rebuilt of which 60,411 were in towns and factory 
settlements and possessed a total floor space of 
3,648,943 square metres ; 266,060 houses were rebuilt 
in the rural areas. Altogether 1,813,614 people 
moved into the rebuilt or newly built houses. 

At the same time as the houses are being rebuilt . 
work is being done to restore the public utilities of 
the towns — transport, water-mains, sewers, electric 
light. In Kalinin (Tver), for example, the water- 
mains and sewers have been completely restored 
since the liberation of the city and the tramway 
service has been extended over an area greater than 
in pre-war days. Within six months of the liberation 
of Rostov-on-Don 250 kilometres of water-mains and 
150 kilometres of sewers had been rebuilt. Similar 
energy is being put into the rebuilding of the power 
stations that are so important for the life of the 
cities and for the industrial enterprises. In May 
1944 over 50 turbines and generators, 70 boilers, over 
4,000 kilometres of transmission line and over 200 
booster stations, all of which had been destroyed by 
the Germans on formerly occupied territory, had 
been repaired and were functioning. Amongst the 
power stations that have been repaired there are 
such important stations as Stalingrad, Zuyevo 



•24 REBUILDING LIBERATED RUSSIA 

(Donets Basin), Voronezh, Kiev and others. In the 
Donets Basin the main district power stations 
belonging to the People’s Commissariat of Power 
Stations are now working. 

The process of restoring the dwelling houses and 
amenities of the towns which we have just described 
is taking place in strict accordance with individual 
plans for the reconstruction of each town. 



CHAPTER IV 


TOWN PLANNING 

Town planning has always occupied a prominent 
place in the history of Russian civilisation. At the 
very dawn of the history of Russia the Norsemen 
called her the “land of towns”. The Russian word 
“gorod” or “grad” originally meant a fortress. Fort- 
ress towns protected the peaceful labour of the 
cultivator and were centres in which craftsmen 
gathered. The building of towns on the border 
between Russia and the steppes was the great service 
which Prince Vladimir the Holy rendered his country 
in the 10th century. The first information we have 
concerning Russian architects dates back to the 11th 
century when they are referred to as “gradodelets”. i.e ., 
town-makers. From then on, throughout the whole 
history of Russia, we hear of new towns being built 
as Russia’s frontiers were extended beyond the White 
and Baltic seas in the north. The centuries accumu- 
lated the experience of the best Russian masters who 
built the splendid architectural ensembles of Moscow 
with its Kremlin, Yaroslavl, Pskov, Novgorod and 
many other towns. Russian architects began work- 
ing on the idea of rational planning and building 
towns at a very early date. The ideas occurred 
as a result of the establishment of a unified Russian 
state by Ivan III and his successors. St. Petersburg, 
built by the labour of the Russian people and the 
genius of Peter the Great at the beginning of the 
modern era made Russian town-planning world- 
famous for the severe beauty of its majestic ensem- 
bles and the regularity of the further growth of the 
newly-built cities. 

At the same time as these tendencies are seen 
in the building of big cities which enjoyed the full 



26 REBUILDING LIBERATED RUSSIA 

attention of the government and the architects, we 
find the more chaotic growth of the majority of 
smaller settlements, sometimes even large industrial 
centres, subordinated entirely to the interests and 
convenience of the factory owners who built slums 
for their workers on the outskirts of the towns and 
sumptuous central sections, completely disregarding 
the requirements of town-planning and social 
hygiene. 

During the Soviet period great efforts have been 
made to improve the planning and building of the 
towns. Fine large dwelling houses have grown up' 
in the working class districts, theatres and clubs have 
been built and the dirt and chaos of the slums gave 
way to whole sections of newly constructed buildings. 
Many examples of the transformation of old Russian 
towns in the last years that preceded the war could 
be given. Yuzovka, a foul, smoky little town in the 
Donets Basin, with its ramshackle collection of 
miners’ huts known as “Dogsville”, grimy beneath 
its coating of coal dust, grew into an important dis- 
trict centre with a population of half a million. The 
tiny, lopsided log and turf cabins have been replaced 
by comfortable brick houses on asphalted streets with 
an abundance of trees and public gardens. The sum 
of 4,000,000 rubles has been spent on planting trees 
in the streets and gardens. Yuzovka changed its 
name to Stalino, metropolis of the Donets Ccai Field. 
This story is typical of the reconstruction of hundreds 
of old Russian towns. 

In general, however, the general plan of a town, 
especially where it has a long history, could not be 
changed to any great extent. Today our architects 
have to build new towns rather than restore old ones. 
Some of our towns have been ruined to such an extent 
that it is not worth while retaining the old lay-out 
of the town for the sake of a few buildings that 
survived and so repeat the old defects due to the un- 



TOWN PLANNING 


n 


planned growth of streets, etc. In their efforts to 
destroy our towns, the Germans turned first of all to 
those buildings which had been erected during the 
last years, that is the best cultural institutions — theat- 
res, schools, clubs and especially parks and gardens 
of which large numbers had been laid out in the 
years immediately preceding the war. A wide belt 
of orchards and decorative woods protected Rostov- 
on-Don from the dry winds ; here the Germans des- 
troyed hundreds of thousands of trees. In Smolensk 
they cut down 40,000 trees in the parks and gardens. 
Whole town sections were converted into wastes of 
ruin. It is quite clear that under these circumstances 
the architect should not subordinate his work to the 
task of “historic reconstruction” but rather to that 
of planning a new socialist town to meet needs that 
will arise during many coming years of economic and 
cultural development. It may happen that a town 
will change its social character. There is the little 
town of Istra, for example, a District Centre of 
Moscow Region which lies amongst wooded hills on 
the banks of a picturesquely winding River Istra ; it 
is to be turned into a northern health resort, a play- 
ground for the working people of Moscow, with little 
country cottages and tourist hostels in quiet and 
picturesque corners, with boarding houses, hotels, etc., 
in the town. Other towns on the contrary will have 
their old economic or administrative character 
brought out more strongly by the process of restora- 
tion and replanning. 

Planning must also take into consideration the 
customs of the inhabitants and the cultural and 

aesthetic demands of the Soviet people All these 

points put together require that the architect produce 
designs of high artistic value, that the town as a 
whole be planned to harmonise with the relief and 
the character of the local landscape. In view of the 
great responsibility of restoring Soviet towns the 



28 


REBUILDING LIBERATED RUSSIA 


government has placed the work in the hands of the 
country’s leading architects ; Karo Alabyan, the 
Vice-President of the Academy of Architecture heads 
the group of architects rebuilding Stalingrad, the 
plan for the restoration of Voronezh is the work of a 
group of architects under the direction of Academi- 
cian Lev Rudnev, Academician Shcbusev is rebuild- 
ing the pretty little Moscow town of Istra, Academi- 
cian Georgi Holtz is working in ancient Smolensk, 
Rostov-on-Don is being rebuilt by Academician 
Vladimir Semenov while Academician Nikolai Kolli 
has charge of the work at Tver (Kalinin). Town- 
planning is the work of groups of architects of the 
most authoritative institutions of the country such as 
the Academy of Architecture of the U. S. S. R., the 
State Town-Planning Institute and similar organisa- 
tions. 

We can already get an excellent idea of the 
future towns from the plans that are in preparation 
although most of them have not yet been completed 
in detail. 



CHAPTER V 


THE REBUILDING OF STALINGRAD 

When we begin to talk of rebuilding the Soviet 
Union, Stalingrad is naturally the first town that 
comes to mind. During the past few decades the 
town of Stalingrad has played an important role in 
the history of Russia. The town was founded to- 
wards the end of the 16th century when Russian 
frontiers reached the Volga. In 1615 .a town was 
built on the present site which is a fine defensive 
position protected by the steep banks of the Volga 
and the delta of the River Tsaritsa from which the 
town got its first name, Tsaritsyn. At first it wae 
an outpost, a fortress town. In 1780 there were still 
only 618 inhabitants but their number had increased 
to 7,027 by 1862. From then on, in connection with 
the building of the Don railway the town grew rapid- 
ly and became an important transport centre connect- 
ing the Kuban, the Caucasus, Rostov and the 
Donets Basin with the centre of the country ; steamer 
traffic on the Volga had also developed by this time. 
By 1901 the town had 70,000 inhabitants ; by 1917 
the town had a population of 150,000, and had become 
one of the biggest trading and industrial centres in 
Russia. 

Tsaritsyn became famous in 1918 when the inter- 
ventionists together with the White Guards made 
three assaults on the town and then surrounded it in 
an effort to cut the centre of the country off from the 
grain growing regions. Under the leadership of 
Joseph Stalin, who was sent to Tsaritsyn by Lenin, 
the attacks were all repulsed ; the battles at 
Tsaritsyn played an important part in determining 
the course of the war fought by the xpung Soviet 
Republic. In 1924 the town was awarded the order 



30 


REBUILDING LIBERATED RUSSIA 


-of the Red Banner and in 1925 was given the name 
of Stalingrad. 

The town underwent a complete transformation 
during the period of the Five-Year Plans. The huge 
Stalingrad Tractor Plant, the first child of the First 
Five-Year Plan was put into operation in 1930; this 
was followed by a number of other important factories 
— leather goods, chemical, canned goods and one of 
the largest shipyards in the country building- 
all- metal self-propelled barges. Amongst the old 
factories that were reconstructed are the “Red 
October” Steel Mill producing high-grade steels, the 
“Barricades” Escalator Plant and many others. The 
town naturally grew in accordance with the increase 
in the number of factories and by 1941 had about 
• half a million inhabitants. An extensive green belt 
surrounded the city and protected it from the dry 
winds and dust of the steppes. 

The city of Stalingrad became one continuous 
town together with its suburbs, the planning of 
which was very unusual in character ; it ran along 
the Volga for 50 kilometres, was nowhere more than 
5 kilometres in width and had a number of main 
arterial highways running its whole length. It was 
this peculiar shape that helped Stalingrad in its 
titanic struggle against the German armies. The 
city-hero, however, that had greatly increased its 
fame during the fighting from 1941 to 1943, was com- 
pletely destroyed.... 

The last Germans were cleared out of Stalingrad 
on the 2nd February, 1943. After the battle the city 
was one huge conflagration. It was a devastated 
area that had been completely ploughed up by artil- 
lery and aerial bombardment filled with the weirdly 
shaped and monstrous ruins of dwelling houses, public 
buildings and factories. The Germans destroyed 
about 40,000-iiving houses with floor space of about 
4,000,000 square metres, 120 kilometres of tramway 



THE REBUILDING OF STALINGRAD 


31 


line, 300 kilometres of water-mains, all the paved 
streets and roadside trees in the town, 14 parks, 102 
schools, hospitals with 4,500 beds, 3 theatres, the 
Pioneers’ Palace, and many other fine buildings. 
During the first few days after the battle the town 
was almost deserted. In Yerman District there 
were 33 inhabitants, in the Central District 751, in 
Metal city, 764. Before the Stalingraders could 
begin work on rebuilding they had to remove from 
the city precincts over 128,000 dead Germans and 
about 11,000 dead horses ; 1,063,000 mines were 
discovered and rendered harmless, 18,000 of them 
on the territory of the factory. Then the city had 
to be cleared of the remains of the German war 
machines — the huge cemetery of German aircraft, 
tanks and trucks organised outside the city bounds 
was several dozen times greater in area than the 
Moscow Trophy Exhibition. 

The first builders in Stalingrad lived under 
extremely difficult conditions ; the conditions were 
the same as those at the front for the workers live in 
trenches, dug-outs, bunkers and tents, taking the 
places of the soldiers who had advanced to the west. 
The Stalingrad Reconstruction Board itself was 
established in the cellar of a ruined building during 
the first weeks of its existence. 

The preliminary plans for the reconstruction of 
Stalingrad were the joint work of the Academy of 
Architecture of the U. S. S. R. the State Institute of 
Town Planning and the Architectural and Planning 
Studios of the People’s Commissariat of Municipal 
Building of the NSFSR. A government commission 
approved the plan drawn up by the Academy of 
Architecture (the architects were : Academician 
Karo Alabyan, Academician Alexei Shchusev, M. H. 
Polyakov, D. S. Sobolev, A. A. Dzerkovich, A. E. 
Pozharsky and Engineer Y. A. Butyagin. 



32 


REBUILDING LIBERATED RUSSIA 


The restoration of a town wrecked to the extent 
of Stalingrad is tantamount to building it anew. 
The new plan, therefore, was able to eliminate the 
defects that had arisen during the development of the 
former city, which of course, grew naturally and 
was never planned as a whole. Although the town 
lay along the banks of the Volga the railway cut 
the city off from the river and there was no regular 
embankment. The streets were laid out checker- 
lioard fashion regardless of the peculiarities of the 
terrain which has a clearly defined system of ter- 
races, hills and slopes ; there were no distinctive 
main streets and squares. The railway and the 
station Stalingrad I, situated in the centre of the 
city cut it in two and made communication 
between the parts very difficult. The number of 
parks and gardens in Stalingrad was insufficient 
and the gullies that ran through the city down to 
the Volga were allowed to run wild. From a purely 
architectural standpoint the chief defects were the 
absence of any system, in some districts the buildings 
were too high, there were no monumental ensembles, 
the favourable relief of the city area had not been 
used so that the high points with their excellent 
views were completely lost. The new plan takes 
these excellent natural features into consideration. 

All the residential districts of the city will now 
have direct access to the Volga by me»ans of a 
granite-faced embankment giving a perfect view 
of the great Russian river which at Stalingrad is 2 
kilometres wide. A new open space is planned on 
the Central Embankment in the form of a long 
rectangle ; this will connect the centre of the city 
with the Volga. This new square will be connected 
to the old City Square by a broad avenue and will 
form the central architectural group of Stalingrad. 

On this central area of 1 x 0'5 kilometres all 
Stalingrad’s best buildings will be erected. The 



THE REBUILDING OF STALINGRAD 


33 


central motif employed in these, as in all Stalin- 
grad’s buildings, is Russian classical architecture 
with a slight flavour of the east which must be 
given a place in Stalingrad architecture as the 
city stands on the old route that joined the east and 
the west. In the very centre of the group will 
stand a monument to the Stalingrad victory, a 
tower nearly 200 feet high surmounted by a bronze 
statue of a trumpeter proclaiming victory ; from the 
terrace on which the tower is built there will be a 
splendid view of the city and the river. Close beside 
the tower it is planned to build an Opera House to 
hold 1,500 visitors. Opposite the Opera House there 
will be the Stalingrad Defence Museum. We plan 
to reconstruct the old “Square to the Memory of 
Fallen Soldiers” and between this square and the 
Victory Monument to build a triumphal arch giving 
on to the “Avenue of the Heroes of the Stalingrad 
Defence.” The frontal facade of the new building 
for the City. Executive Committee will also be on this 
square. It will be a five-storey building with a 
ten-storey tower, surmounted by an oriental gilded 
dome, at the corner. Designs for other large 
central buildings are also being prepared such 
as the railway station, hotels and similar public 
buildings. 

The new city will retain its old shape and will 
continue to stretch along the Volga although the 
residential sections will be brought nearer the river 
in order to satisfy both sanitary and transport 
requirements. The huge city will be split into 
sections by the introduction of parks. 

The general planning of the streets will follow 
the lines of the ground contours. The outer edge 
of each terrace, from which a splendid view of the 
Volga may be obtained, will carry a boulevard. 
The highest points in the city are planned as open 
3 



34 


REBUILDING LIBERATED RUSSIA 


squares where the tallest public buildings and dwell- 
ing houses will be built. These groups of tall build- 
ings will give the city a distinctive silhouette. It 
is planned to build a very wide boulevard through 
the centre of the city. 

The extreme length of Stalingrad and its position 
along the banks of the Volga determines the direction 
in which the three main arterial roads will run. 
The lower arterial road will connect the centre of 
the city with the big Stalingrad Park and with the 
industrial sections ; the central road connects the 
various residential sections with each other and with 
the centre of the city while the upper arterial road 
will run along the western outskirts of the city and 
form the main motor road for heavy traffic. Diago- 
nal cross roads will connect these three arteries ; 
the gullies leading down to the Volga will be laid out 
as parks and shady avenues will run through them ; 
from the centre of Stalingrad a wide, tree-lined 
avenue will run direct to Mamayev Kurgan and the 
memorial park which will be laid out on that hill. 
The railway will run through cuttings over a 
sufficient length to enable easy transport facilities 
to be organised between the various city sections. 
Forest massifs will be planted around the town 
to protect it from the dry winds and dust of the 
steppes. 

The terraced nature of the terrain forms the 
basis for the whole plan of the city’s reconstruction. 
The nature of the ground will give the city its 
picturesque ness and will determine the nature of the 
buildiDgs, their architectural design and their height. 
The bigger buildings (4 and 5 storeys) will be built 
only in the central sections of the city : along the 
embankments the houses will be mainly two storeys 
in height with an occasional bigger building to 
prevent monotony ; the level plateau of the second 



THE REBUILDING OF STALINGRAD 


35 


terrace will carry small dwelling houses. There will 
be plenty of trees and shrubs in the residential 
sections and their roads will carry no heavy trans- 
port. Apartments will be built separately for family 
use and will be provided with the maximum of 
modern conveniences. The architects working on 
the new city of Stalingrad aim at providing the 
inhabitants of the heroic city with every possible 
convenience. 



CHAPTER VI 


THE REBUILDING OF ROSTOV-ON-DON 
AND VORONEZH 

The German occupation caused terrific damage to 
another important industrial centre of our country, 
the town of Rostov-on-Don. The fact that 700,000 
square metres of floor space in dwelling houses was 
completely destroyed and that a further million 
square metres are in need of complete rebuilding is 
sufficient to show the extent of the devastation. In 
1944 a sum of 30,000,000 rubles was allotted for 
reconstruction. 

The great extent of the damage in Rostov, 
although, of course, it is incomparably less than 
that of Stalingrad, brought forward the question of 
making great changes in the planning of the city. 
Academician Vladimir Semenov, who has charge of 
the building work at Rostov, is introducing a number 
of improvements into the general plan of the town. 
The old plan did not take into consideration the 
town’s position on the River Don, a position which is 
extremely favourable trom the architectural view- 
point. In the new Rostov the banks of the Don will 
be the most beautiful part of the city. The granite- 
faced embankment will carry a boulevard which 
will be a hundred metres in width at some points, 
trees and shrubs will form part of the general 
architectural plan and in several places recreation 
grounds, “Parks of Culture and Rest” as we call 
them in Russia, will reach down to the river with all 
their trees and greenery. 

The Germans played particular havoc with Engels 
Street, the central street of the city, where they blew 
up all the main public buildings, the huge Maxim 



ROSTOV-ON-DON AND VORONEZH 


37 


Gorky Theatre, the City Soviet headquarters, thd 
Conservatory of Music and others. This central 
artery of the city is now being replanned on an 
even grander scale. According to the new plan it 
will contain a number of extensive squares. The 
square nearest, the River Don, Theatre square, has 
access to the river by means of a monumental stair- 
case flanked by public gardens. The square on which 
the headquarters of the City Soviet will be built is 
planned as a single architectural ensemble with a 
garden containing sculpture groups laid out in the 
centre ; the sculptures will depict the liberation of the 
city from th6 Whites during the Civil War. A new 
centre is being built in place of the old town market ; 
this will take the form of a forum dedicated to the 
memory of those who liberated Rostov from the 
Germans. The main city square, which is now a 
mass of ruins, is planned as a city cehtre with 
museum buildings, arcades of shops, hotels and muni- 
cipal buildings ; this square is situated on the high 
bank of the River Don and its buildings will be 
visible for many miles from the steppes that surround 
the city. 

The problem of giving the city as a whole a new 
architectural form is one that presents great diffi- 
culty. The architecture of old Rostov, like that of 
many towns in south-west Russia, which grew 
up at the turn of the last century, is very rich but 
completely devoid of elegance and individuality. 
Academician Semenov proposes to introduce some of 
the classic forms used in the architecture of the 
ancient towns of the Black Sea basin in addition to 
the Russian Empire and Russian classical styles. 

The planting of trees is of exceptional importance 
to Rostov as the city suffers from the dry steppe 
winds. During the pre-war years protection was 
afforded by the orchards and masses of decora- 
tive trees that were planted in a belt around the city. 



38 


REBUILDING LIBERATED RUSSIA 


They had just reached their full growth when the war 
broke out and the Germans destroyed them, hundreds 
of thousands of valuable trees. According to the plan 
of reconstruction, Rostov will become a garden city, 
with 28 square metres of garden to every inhabitant 
of the city. By the autumn of 1943, 90,000 

trees had been planted and in the spring of 
1944 a further 50,000 were put into the ground. 

Another river city is Voronezh which was first 
built as an outpost on the river of the same name, 
a tributary of the Don, in 1586. The picturesque 
fortress city stood guard over the unruly Tatar 
steppes. A century later the city played an import- 
ant role in Russian history... it was here that Peter 
the Great built the first Russian shipyards and sent 
his fleet from Voronezh iuto the Sea of Azov to fight 
th° Turks. Voronezh’s claim to fame in the 19th 
century is as the birthplace of the people’s poets Ivan 
Nikitin and Alexei Koltsov, who sang the praises of 
their native region in wonder ful poems. The town 
had retained a considerable number of ecclesiastical 
and civil buildings that had been erected during the 
17th and 18th centuries. Under Catherine II the 
planning of the town was greatly improved, a cent- 
ral street was planned to connect the river with a 
central city square. The 19th century, however, saw 
a lot of chaotic building which completely disregard- 
ed the beauty and general planning of the town ; 
industrial enterprises sprang up within the confines 
of the city, streets end in cul-de-sacs without reaching 
the river, houses built on the edge of the slopes of 
the plateau have their backs to the river. 

All these defects must be removed during the 
reconstruction of the town. Academician Lev 
Rudnev, the architect in charge, is trying to make 
the greatest possible use of the extremely picture- 
sque situation of the town ; he proposes to bring a 
number of streets down the slopes to the river. This 



ROSTOV -ON-DON AND VORONEZH 


39 


side of the town was one of the most attractive spots 
where white churches and little houses nestled 
amongst green trees and bushes ; on a cape jutting out 
into the river stood the 80 metre high belfry of the 
Mitrofan Monastery the central vertical feature in 
the Voronezh landscape. The Germans made a 
fearful mess of the town — between 80% and 90% of its 
buildings were blown up or burnt, amongst them 
the university, the town theatre, the headquarters 
of the regional executive committee and many other 
important buildings. In Voronezh as in Kalinin (to 
be dealt with later) the skeletons of many buildings 
remain in condition good enough to warrant resto- 
ration. The foundations and the brick boxes of the 
houses show where the old streets once were and 
compel the town planner to undertake the intricate 
task of combining the old and the new. 

The old part that remains, however, is now alto- 
gether an obstacle that has to be surmounted. 
Academician Rudnev is not only an architect, he is 
also an artist who is fond of old arts and is inclined 
to deal gently with the relic of the past. He does 
not intend to rebuild the city so that it will be un- 
recognisable, he wants to retain and improve the old 
Voronezh with all its beauty and charm. This of 
course, leads to a number of problems of style and 
character in building, the selection of architectural 
forms and materials and in determining the scale 
and composition of the groups of buildings. Voronezh 
took form during three centuries and each added its 
contribution to the art of the city. Rudnev has 
selected early 19th century as his style, the period of 
Russian classicism, the spirit of which is felt with 
great strength in the architecture of old Voronezh. 
The colour of the buildings is closely connected 
with this decision ; Lev Rudnev has categorically 
rejected cement and ferro-concrete — their grey-green 
barrack-like tone would completely ruin the lively 



40 


REBUILDING LIBERATED RUSSIA 


Icarity of the style. White was the predominating 
colour in the town and it blends beautifully with the 
green of the chestnut trees and the poplars. Russian 
classic style does not necessarily require stones as 
can be seen in the numerous examples of “wood 
empire” that are famous for their warmth and 
comfort. 

The. administrative buildings of the central part 
of the city are to contain three storeys. In this way 
the architect will retain the healthy principles of the 
classic style which produced many fine government 
and office buildings. The same modest dimensions 
will be applied to war memorials in pursuance of a 
wise old aphorism that “magnitude is not majesty.” 
Nevertheless the silhouette of the town will be quite 
picturesque, the introduction of steeples and towers 
provides a certain harmony with the old outline of 
the city with its belfries and churches. 



CHAPTER VII 


THE REBUILDING OF KALININ, SMO- 
LENSK AND ISTRA 

The City of Kalinin, the ancient town of Tver, 
was one of the most beautiful and splendidly plan- 
ned cities in Russia. It lay on the route from the 
•old capital of St. Petersburg to Moscow and therefore 
attracted the attention both of the government and 
•of architects. After the great fire in 1763 the town 
was rebuilt in accordance with a general plan drawn 
up by the Russian architect Matvey Kazakov who 
also designed the central architectural ensemble in the 
city — the splendid palace used as a royal road house 
from which Kazakov’s “Grand Perspective” opened 
up in the form of the former Million street, broken 
up at regular intervals by three beautiful squares, 
•palace, octagonal and post squares. The Empress 
Catherine II spoke truly when she said “The Town 
•of Tver, after St. Petersburg, is the most beautiful 
town in the empire”. In the strict but beautiful 
forms of the town’s architecture was that spirit of 
Russian classicism which gives the “Northern Pal- 
myra” its individuality and the general idea of the 
“trident” of main streets in Tver was undoubtedly 
borrowed from the planning of St. Petersburg. 

The town of Kalinin (Tver) was liberated from the 
fascists on 16t.h December, 1941. I saw it soon after, 
in the spring of 1942 when the work of restoration 
was only just beginning. The picture of devastation 
was a truly terrible one. Whole blocks of houses 
lay in ruins, the smoke-blackened windowless walls 
of houses rose like weird decorations along the streets. 
The twisted girders of the bridge across the Volga 
were so distorted that they looked more like pieces 



42 


REBUILDING LIBERATED RUSSIA 


of ribbon blowing in the wind than steel structures. 
The destruction, however, was not so great as to 
warrant any replanning of the city. The city 
authorities, on the contrary, in concord with the 
desires of the people, gave the architects the 
task of restoring Kalinin’s former beauty, of restoring 
the beautiful architectural ensembles that Kazakov 
built. 

A group of architects under the direction of 
Academician Nikolai Kolli is approaching this task 
very gradually and taking great pains over it. The 
planning of old Tver does not need any great amend- 
ments made to it but this does not mean that mo lern 
Kalinin, a city that has grown far from the Volga,, 
cannot be improved either from the viewpoint of its 
municipal amenities or its architecture. 

The town was planned at a time when the Volga 
was barely navigable at this point ; the most import- 
ant traffic lane through the city was the post road 
from Moscow to St. Petersburg. The three main 
roads of Tver, the “Trident” served this purpose and 
although they ran parallel to the river, they seemed 
to have turned their backs on it. The architects are 
now planning to include the river in their design as 
an integral part of the city, for since the Moscow- 
Volga Canal was built the river contains much more 
water, has become an important passenger and goods 
traffic lane and on the bank opposite Kalinin, at the 
confluence of the Volga and the Tversty, an exten- 
sive river station has been built. This part of Kalinin 
which lies across the Volga from the Leningrad high- 
way, suffered very badly and will have to be entirely 
re-built. It is planned to build a wide embankment 
separated from the row of houses by a belt of green 
boulevards ; the buildings have their faces to the 
river, to the south, that is, and can be seen, from the 
old city throughout the entire length of its riverside. 
This facade of Kalinin is the subject of particular 



KALININ, SMOLENSK AND ISTRA 43 

attention, for the builders of new Kalinin see in this 
a uniform architectural panorama centring around a 
dominant vertical feature in the form of a tower at 
the river station. A similar vertical structure, 
possibly a monument to the liberation of Ka’inin, will 
be built within the precincts of the old Kremlin of 
Tver which, as researches have shown, had a similar 
structure in the 14th and 15th centuries in the form 
of the huge decorated belfry tower of Ivan the 
Merciful. 

The work of restoring the damaged buildings and 
the old architectural ensembles is limited to that 
simple and clear style which marks the work of 
Kazakov. Classicism is here the fundamental and 
natural style predominating in the city. “We are 
listening to Kazakov’s tuning fork the whole time,” 
says architect Kolli. This “tuning fork” is their 
guide in seeking the more artistically rational stand- 
ards for the buildings to be erected in various parts 
of the town and in carefully preserving the valuable 
old buildings. A number of houses in a main street 
built in the 18th century, for example, are having 
storeys added to them in such a way that the in- 
creased size of the buildings does not produce any 
discord with the surrounding ensemble. In rebuilding 
tbe structures on the semi-circular Soviet Place 
(Kazakov's Post Square), not only the forms and the 
principles of composition of the buildings concerned 
are taken into consideration but also other works of 
Kazakov, particularly the University of Moscow. In 
concord with this the architects are planning as port- 
icos the lower parts of those blocks of buildings 
which stand on Soviet Place and separate the 
“trident” of streets which have their beginning here. 

Those new buildings which have been damaged by 
enemy action and which took little account of the 
general architectural features of the city are being 
redesigned. The huge building of the Theatre Of 



44 


REBUILDING LIBERATED RUSSIA 


Drama, for example, is being rebuilt more in accord- 
ance with the dimensions of the surrounding build- 
ings and, together, with the nearby Red Army Club, 
the theatre forms one of the porticos of a small 
square which in turn leads to a boulevs connecting it 
with the market square. 

The construction of Tver-Kalinin depends entirely 
on local building industries. Local brickfields, lime 
quarries near the Town of Staritsa that were used as 
early as the 14th century to produce lime and build- 
ing stone, tile works that produce rooftiles and 
ceramic tiles and the excellent timber of the region. 

Smolensk is one of the oldest Russian towns and 
one that holds a place of honour in Russian history ; 
Smolensk shared with Novgorod and Pskov the 
honour of guarding the western frontiers of Russia 
for many centuries. Enemy eyes were often turned 
on this city, its walls have witnessed fierce conflicts, 
many conquerors have seized fair Smolensk lanus but 
all, sooner or later, have been driven out again. The 
town not only carried its sacred traditions of valorous 
deeds and cultural achievements through the years ot 
struggle, but also preserved a number of monuments 
of the past — 12th century churches, gigantic fortress 
walls nearly seven kilometres in length that were 
built by the Russian architect, Fedor Kon, at the end 
of the 16th century — Isar Boris Godunov called these 
walls the “Necklace of Russia”. In the cen turns that 
have elapsed since then, Russian architects have 
erected many new buildings in the city and have 
preserved that majestic but nevertheless intimate 
atmosphere of the old town, showing astonishing tact 
and artistic feeling in their work. The graceful belf- 
ries and domes of churches rose up against the cherry 
orchards. Stendhal, who had seen all the famous 
European cities, was a great admirer of Smolensk and 
called it one of the most beautiful cities of the old 
world. This town was destroyed by the Germans. 



KALININ, SMOLENSK AND ISTRA 


45' 


They blew up and set fire to its houses ; 90% of the 
dwelling houses in Smolensk have gone and only the 
barest traces remain of the poetically beautiful 
cherry orchards. Monuments of ancient architecture 
have received very serious damage. 

The restoration of such a city is a great respon- 
sibility for the architect. Academician G-eorgi Holtz 
who is directing the studio working on the plans for 
the reconstruction of Smolensk is an artist of great 
tact and talent and a lover of Smolensk. He shows 
great feeling in the way he approaches all questions 
concerning the restoration of the city, and he invites 
the public to discuss the plans which he is drawing up. 
Holtz may truly say that every citizen is taking part 
in the rebuilding of Smolensk. It is an interesting 
fact that his remark on the desirability of restoring 
the parks and gardens at the earliest possible moment 
was put into operation with astonishing rapidity ; by 
the spring of 1944 about 6,000 trees from 10 to 15- 
years old had been planted in the city. 

It is characteristic of Smolensk and other towns 
that the inhabitants that have returned all strive to 
build their houses on the exact sites ot the old houses ; 
this is an expression of the townsman’s desire to 
rebuild his town as nearly like the old as possible. 
Academician Holtz has an excellent understanding 
of this feeling. He has made hardly any changes in 
the old centre of the city which stood on picturesque 
hills 85 or 86 metres above the level of the Dnieper 
and was surrounded by the monumental walls of the 
Kremlin. He not only wants to restore their ruined 
sections, but also to preserve that special spirit of the 
Smolensk landscape which produced the abundance of 
gardens with little cosy houses on the slopes of the 
hills and the splendidly placed churches which formed 
part of that landscape. 

The traveller gets this impression of Smolensk 
immediately he enters the town ; as he leaves the 



46 


REBUILDING LIBERATED RUSSIA 


station he sees on the station square the ancient 
church of Sts. Peter and Paul with foundations 
datiug back to the 12th century and a splendid 18th 
century restoration. 

The town grew up and developed around its ancient 
centre and the plan of reconstruction follows this 
same line ; the fantasy of the architect may have 
full play here and Academician Holtz is planning 
splendid office and public buildings for the adminis- 
trative centre of Smolensk. In addition to solving 
purely architectural problems the builders are also 
organising and extending the local building materials 
industry, increasing the output of lime, ceramics 
and other items necessary. 

The ten year plan to rebuild the little town of 
Istra offers considerable interest. The plan was 
drawn up by Academician Shchusev, one of the 
leading hussian architects and a connoisseur of 
ancient Russian architecture. 

The town of Istra (formerly Voskresensk) was 
famous in pre-war days for its splendid architectural 
treasure house — the cathedral of the New Jerusalem 
Monastery built in the 17th century by the Patriarch 
Nikon, a gem of Russian national architecture des- 
troyed by the enemy who left behind him nothing 
but ruins and ashes. The Germans burnt down the 
picturesquely situated little town of Istra, built on a 
number of low hills ; the town was a favourite place 
for excursions and outings from Moscow, a place 
where the Muscovites could enjoy the tranquil beauty 
of the Russian landscape and at the same time, if 
so disposed, enjoy a real scholarly holiday, for in 
addition to the ancient monastery with its wonder- 
ful museum and library there was also a regional 
museum whose excellent collections showed the 
history of culture and all the natural wealth of 
the district. The town and the museum were des- 
troyed by enemy action. 



KALININ, SMOLENSK AND ISTRA 


47 


The restoration of Istra will make it Moscow’s 
playground, a purpose for which Shchusev is employ- 
ing all the natural resources of the town and the 
region ; the architect has also produced a plan for 
the restoration of the monastery for the town must 
get back this wonderful national monument. Here 
again the architect has to combine the work of 
restoring a famous historical monument and of 
rebuilding a town with all its public buildings and 
dwellings, that is, he must produce that which 
modern housing norms regard as essential and 
translate it into terms of traditional national 
motifs. 

The old town was planned in the 18th century 
as a series of rectangular blocks with an oval place 
where the main street of the town crossed the road 
leading to the Monastery ; this plan made excellent 
use of the relief and the local landscape. The new 
plan, therefore, follows the old, with the streets 
widened to form boulevards and some diagonal 
streets added ; this gives greater variety and pic- 
turesqueness to the composition of a town which 
occupies an area of 750 acres. The plans call for 
three squares in the town — administrative (6 3/4 
acres, trading 6 3/4 acres and central squares 
acres) which are formed at the crossings of the main 
town street and the boulevards. Administrative 
square will contain the buildings of the District 
Executive Committee with a high square tower 
arcaded at the top, a large hall for meetings and a 
facade look-out or. public gardens and the square 
where demonstrations will be held. From here there 
is a direct view towards the New Jerusalem Monas- 
tery and the main park of the health resort. The 
Executive Committee building will be carried out 
in red brick with a white stone arcade and an aban- 
dance of majolica decoration, concording in style 
with the motifs and forms of the 17th century. This 
central building determines the character of the 



48 


REBUILDING LIBERATED RUSSIA 


architecture of the town as a whole ; the buildings 
of the town will make full use of the rich heritage of 
Russian architecture with its bright and jolly deco- 
rations which are admirably suitable for the summer 
cottages, hotels, tourist hostels and small houses 
in general. The second most important building 
in Istra will be its kursaal in the town park with 
a theatre, restaurant and open-air theitre for 
summer performances. A hotel building, two board- 
ing houses and the building of the executive com- 
mittee will form an ensemble on the crest of a hill 
which give the new Town of Istra its characteristic 
“fairyland” appearance. 

The rectangular place known as “trade square” 
with its arcades or shops, hotels and dwelling houses 
is joined to the third square by a wide boulevard — 
this forms a kind of “city” in future Istra. 

The centre of Istra will contain mainly three 
storey buildings which will decrease to two and 
single storey buildings nearer the outskirts of the 
town ; each building site will be from 600 to 1,200 
metres so that every house will have its own garden, 
orchard or vegetable patch. In general there will 
be 100 square metres of garden or park for every 
inhabitant (taking the figure of 15,000 as the popula- 
tion), excluding the huge sports ground that will be 
built on the opposite bank of the river. Istra will 
be a garden city in every sense of the word and the 
main motor road will pass around the outside in 
order not to disturb the tranquility of the town. 

The cozy and picturesquely beautiful forms of old 
Russian architecture enter into the designs that 
Shchusev has produced for the dwelling houses ; his 
prototype is the Russian log cabin with its abundant 
carved woodwork and painted detail. Around the 
town there will be a ring of rest homes, country 
cottages, sanatoriums and other buildings in the most 
picturesque corners of the district of Istra. 



CHAPTER VIII 


REBUILDING THE UKRAINE 

The restoration of the towns of the Ukraine is 
going forward with the same intensiveness as those 
of Russia ; here again the builders are faced with a 
number of architectural and technical problems. 

Kiev, the capital of the Ukraine, is one of the 
most beautiful cities of the south and of the whole 
country. The name of Kiev is connected with the 
present and the future of reborn Ukraine and with 
the ancient past of the Russian people. Kiev was 
the first capital of the Russian state, a centre where 
huge buildings were put up in the 11th and 12th 
centuries, some of which have been preserved to the 
present day. Kiev was the “mother of Russian 
cities” the ancient law giver in matters cultural and 
artistic. The Rus ian people followed with pain and 
anguish the fate of their holy city when it fell into 
the hands of the enemy. The Germans desecrated 
the holy places — the Cathedral of the 11th Kiev 
Pechersky Monastery, the oldest in Russia, was 
blown up by the invaders ; the museums and the 
libraries were sacked and burned. The enemy des- 
troyed the central part of the city leaving nothing 
but ruins over an area of 125 acres. The. greatest 
damage was done in Kreshchatik, the main street of 
Kiev, an avenue a kilometre in length with many 
fine public and office buildings and dwelling houses 
of which nothing but skeletons or ruins remained. 

Kr eshchatik was one of the busiest streets of the 
city, it led to the bridge which in turn gave on to the 
beach and the parks and gardens on the banks of the 
Dnieper. Kreshchatik was beginning to be crowded • 

4 



50 


REBUILDING LIBERATED RUS8IA 


in pre-war days its width of 36 to 44 metres being 
insufficient for the needs of the growing town. The 
Kiev Board of Architecture has produced a plan for 
considerably widening Kreohchatik and making it a 
magnificent main artery 52 to 60 metres in width 
wiih wide and.convenient pavements. The few re- 
maining buildings will be moved back and Kreshcha- 
tik will be rebuilt with six-storey buildings : they 
will all be public and office buildings such as hotels, 
banks, cinemas, department stores, etc., with shops, 
restaurants and cafes on the ground floors. The 
architectural form of these buddings follows Ukrain- 
ian building traditions and local granite, marble and 
Ukrainian labrador stone will be used to face them. 
An abundance of trees will make the new Kreshcha- 
tik even more picturesque than the old. 

The streets adjacent to Kreshchatik will also tfe 
widened. The Shevchenko Boulevard with its fine 
poplar trees will become a main artery leading 
directly to Pechersk and the Dnieper bridges. The 
widening of the city squares will help solve the 
traffic problem and will peimit certain architectural 
improvements to be made. A funicular railway will 
run down to the river from the rebuilt Bogdan 
Khmelnitsky Square. In the new Victory Square a 
monument will be erected commemorating the libera- 
tion oi Kiev ; the monument was designed by Acade- 
mician Karl Alabyan ; a monumental staircase and 
a funicular railway connect Victory Square with the 
banks of the Dnieper. 

That part of Kiev which lies on the right bank of 
the Dnieper will remain within the limits laid down 
in the pre-war plan but the industrial concerns that 
are within these limits will be moved to new sites. 
It is planned to lay out new botanical gardens on the 
site of the old “Menagerie” and to build a number of 
small private houses and cottages in this picturesque 
district. On the left bank there will be a “Hydro- 



REBUILDING THE UKRAINE 51 

park” and lower down stream a district devoted 
entirely to rest homes. 

In the new Ukrainian city of Zaporozhye, in the 
immediate neighbourhood of the famous Dnieper 
power station, dwelling houses with a total floor 
Space of over a million square metres were destroyed. 
The restoration of this city has b<-en entrusted to 
architect Georgi Orlov who took part in building the 
original city in 1927. The new plan provides for 
uniting the new city of Zaporozhye and the old town 
of Alexandrovsk by filling in the area between them 
with small houses ; the village of Voznesensk, which 
was completely destroyed by the Germans, formerly 
stood on this territory. The Germans barbarously 
destroyed all the trees in Zaporozhye but the new 
plan will bring back to the city its wealth of 
greenery ; the central park will be extended from five 
to twenty acres and all the other parks, gardens, 
avenues and boulevards will be restored while large 
numbers of trees and shrubs will be planted between 
the dwelling houses. 

One of the most difficult tasks confronting the 
architects rebuilding Kharkov, twice wrecked by the 
Germans, is the restoration of the huge 14-storey 
industrial house, the largest house of its type in the 
U. S. S. R. This building contained the offices of 100 
republican and regional concerns and dozens of 
research organisations and institutes. The Germans 
burnt and badly damaged the building. By the 
middle of May 1944 about 6.000 square metres of floor 
space had been restore d and some 2,000 square metres 
of windows h .d been glazed ; 12 organisations 
already have their offices in the building. The sum 
of 17,000, OOt) rubles has been allotted for the rebuild- 
ing of industry house of which 9,000,000 will be ex- 
pended in 1944 for the restoration of a further 60,000 
square metres of floor space, the glazing of about 
60,000 square metres of windows, the repair of 



52 


REBUILDING LIBERATED RUSSIA 


the water supply, drainage and electric lighting 
circuits. 

The architects working on the restoration of 
Kharkov and other young cities in the southern part 
of the Soviet Union are faced with a general problem, 
that of improving the general architectural form of 
the city concern. The huge far-flying city of 
Kharkov was as varied in style. as Rostov but had no 
architectural individuality. Architects are working 
at present on methods of improving the general 
appearance of the town and giving it a uniform 
architectural design with a real architectural centre. 

The group of architects working on the rebuilding 
of Poltava is faced with very special tasks, fof 
Poltava is a city that is famous in the annals of 
Ukrainian and Russian cultural and military history. 
Like many other Russian towns Poltava was buried 
deep in greenery, in chestnut, poplar and acacia trees. 
The Germans destroyed all the trees, destroyed the 
monument to Gogol who went to school in Poltava, 
destroyed the monument to Taras Shevchenko and to 
the father of modern Ukrainian literature, Kotlyar- 
evsky ; they blew up the Museum Buildings, a fine 
example of Ukrainian architectural style. The 
architects aim to revive the old Poltava with its 
wonderful landscapes and historical buildings. The 
monuments have already been rebuilt and the plant- 
ing of trees and shrubs has begun. 

xn discussing the restoration work that is going 
on in the country whilst the war is still in progress 
we must not forget that at the same time as the 
liberated territories are being rebuilt the huge cons- 
truction work going on in the interior of the country 
still does not cease. 

For our purpose it is sufficient just to recall the 
construction work being done in connection with 
the transfer of many industrial concerns to the east 



REBUILDING THE UKRAINE 


53 


and the building of a number of new concerns to 
meet the needs of the war. 

Large scale industrial and dwelling house cons- 
truction is going on in connection with this in the 
Urals, Siberia and Central Asia. Such towns as 
Sverdlovsk and Novosibirsk have gained a new 
economic significance and have become big manu- 
facturing centres whose importance will increase 
after the war. In addition to the increase in the 
size of the older industrial towns a number of new 
factory settlements have been built, in the interior 
of the country to house the workers engaged in the 
intensive exploitation of newly discovered deposits 
of essential raw materials and the workers who 
turn these raw materials into weapons of war. 

City improvement schemes have also been con- 
tinued. In Moscow for example the third under- 
ground railway line has been completed with l3'7 
kilometres of line and 5 splendid new stations ; 
175,000 square metres of floor space in newly built 
living houses has been made available, to tenants, 
and dozens of kilometres of tramway lines, water 
mains and sewers have been laid ; 285,000 square 
metres of roadway have been asphalted. In 1944 
the sum of 200,000,000 rubles will be expended on 
the repair of dwelling houses and 80,000,000 rubles 
on the improvement of city transport. 

At the other end of the country, in the town of 
Prokopievsk (Kuznetsk Basin) the available dwelling 
houses are being increased by tens of thousands of 
square metres of floor space in 1944, 16 kilometres 
of new roads are being built, 3 bathhouses are being 
opened and 42,000 trees are being planted. These 
examples are merely typical of hundreds of others 
but they serve to show the intensity of work de- 
manded of the government, the people and the 
Build eis to carry them through in war-time. 



54 


REBUILDING LIBERATED RUSSIA 


In concluding this section I want to tell you 
something about the development of Soviet archi- 
tecture in general and of the work that has been done 
by architects during the past few years. The War 
came when the architects and builders of the Soviet 
Union had reached a turning point in the develop- 
ment of their creative work. After searching for 
new forms and new ways and means for a number 
of years, after a number of abstractions and extremes 
which today seem absolutely incomprehensible, 
Soviet architects were rapidly approaching the 
point where they had assimilated the national 
principles and forms of the rich heritage that has 
been left us by the many peoples of our country. 
Everybody remembers the brilliant, or perhaps it 
would be better to say successful, in the best mean- 
ing of the word, architecture of the All-Union 
Agricultural Exhibition in Moscow and a number 
of buildings in the republican capitals in the 
Caucasus and the R. S. F. S R, which were 
suspected of following the eternal principles of 
classicism or the laconic industrialism of ferro- 
concrete. Nevertheless the national motif was 
making itself more and more felt amongst archi- 
tects working with new mediums. 

The monstrous acts of vandalism perpetrated by 
the Germans in respect of the sacred monuments of 
national culture and art, the destruction of ancient 
churches and beautiful palaces, of mona-tery ensem- 
bles and historical Russian cities not only i Increased" 
our hatred of the enemy but has greatly increased 
the love shown , by our people for their national 5 
heritage in the arts. This increase in the interest 
displayed in national culture and art iwas bound -to 
embrace the art of building ; it increased and : gavo 
a new impulse to the critical attitude towards' exist- 
ing aesthetic principles and' traditions* in architec- 
ture. 



REBUILDING THE UKRAINE 


55 


A good example of the public interest in art and 
its theoretical and practical problems is the organi- 
sation, whilst the war is still in progress, of two 
big art institutes of national importance. The 
Academy of Sciences of the U. S. S. R. has set up its 
Institute of the History of the Arts and a number 
of Academicians have been elected from amongst 
the leading workers in this sphere. The former small 
department of the Academy of Architecture which 
dealt with the theory aud history of architecture 
has been reorganised as a big research institute. 

In the days of this great war when it would seem 
that all efforts and all thoughts must be absorbed by 
the needs of the army at the front scholars and 
architects have intensified their work on problems 
of past and present art ; many lectures, talks and 
conferences have been held, always with large 
audiences and always with a lively discussion. Take 
for instance the conference on the History of Russian 
Architecture organised by the Academy of Archi- 
tecture early in 1944, or the lectures on theoretical 
questions given by the Institute of the theory and 
history of architecture, etc. 

A number of scholars are engaged in writing 
comprehensive works on the history of Russian 
architecture. 

Amongst practising architects very great inter- 
est is displayed in questions of the history of 
architecture. Dissatisfaction with the present level 
of architecture, particularly its artistic qualities, 
has led to fiery criticism and theoretical discussions. 
Architect Burov wrote a long and exceptionally 
interesting book entitled “In Search of Lost Unity”} 
the. book criticises the failings of modern architecture, 
analyses their causes and puts, forward some exceed- 
ingly clever ideas on ways f&b University lib?"™ 
that lies between technical i osmamja tt*™,™... 

so produce an architecture 



56 


REBUILDING LIBERATED RUSSIA 


having. All these facts give us every right to speak 
of creative enthusiasm on the part of Soviet archi- 
teots in war-time. 

This, however, is only the beginning of a new 
wave of enthusiasm, merely symptoms that strength 
is being gathered for post-war construction. Despite 
the undoubtedly successful designs that have been 
drawn up we cannot rest content with the present 
level of our architecture. Many architects still follow 
stereotyped classical forms or limit themselves to 
eclectic compilations on national themes which do 
not in any way biing us nearer to a real understand- 
ing of the expression of the national spirit in archi- 
tecture. In respect of this type ot architect one may 
repeat the words of the American ‘Architectural 
Forum” which critically approached the “Reconstruc- 
tion of Coventry”. “The retrospective Italo-Swedish, 
pseudo-renaissance arcades in the newly reconstructed 
sections of Coventry show that certain English archi- 
tects still do not feel the new spirit in architecture ; 
the minds of these architects need reconstructing 
before they are allowed to rebuild their ruined cities” 
(Retranslated from Russian). In a number of cases 
when the enemy-destroyed Russian cities are being 
rebuilt, especially those that contain outstanding 
relics of ancient and modern Russian architecture 
such as Novgorod, Smolensk, or Pskov, the architect 
must carelully and thoughtfully select the forms he 
Is going to use for the new buildings. Is it not true 
to say that in these cases the new architecture must 
be modest in form and dimensions without any 
pretentious sty lisa tion, that the general aspect of an 
x>ld historical city should not have that which is 
artificial added to.it? Should not the architecture 
who is rebuilding them retain that which our minds 
.connect with say Novgorod, Kalinin or any other 
,old Russian city ? These are other views frequently 
come up against an effort on the part of the architect 
to completely rebuild the whole town in accordance 



REBUILDING THE UKRAINE 


57 


with some single preconceived “style” ; it is not 
difficult to realise that this way will lead to negative 
results which will rob the town so dealt with of all 
its national traits. 

In war-time Soviet architects are living in an 
-atmosphere of fruitful discussion and the conflict 
of various views and ideas ; all contrary, even mu- 
tually exclusive, ideas will undoubtedly lead our 
thoughts in the direction of the best possible solution 
of the problems which face the architect engaged 
on reconstruction, in the direction of the creation 
•of the most perfect towns and villages, dwelling 
houses and public buildings whether regarded from 
the artistic or the domestic view-point, buildings 
that are worthy of the great people that inhabit the 
;Soviet Union. 



CHAPTER IX 


REBUILDING THE VILLAGES 

Even before the war the development of the 
collective farms was such that it could not keep 
within the bounds of the old village with its slowly 
developing manners and customs that seemed to 
remain stagnant for centuries. The collective farm 
system has made great changes in the village itself, 
in the work of the villagers, their social structure 
and their manner of life. The collective farmer does 
not resemble the old peasant who lived isolated on 
his own farm and in his own personal interests ; the 
collective farmer is a member of a community which 
is building up a new system of farming on the basis 
of new methods of tilling the soil and the develop- 
ment of a highly productive animal husbandry. 
These new processes as a rule took place inside a 
village that was old in its planning and its general 
aspect and the collective farmer usually continued 
living in his old house. The radical changes that 
have been made in the economic aspects of village 
life, changes that have made the greater part of the 
heavy work in the fields and the task of caring for 
the cattle matters to be dealt with by the collective 
as a whole with the consequent lessening of the cares 
which the farmer had for his own little farm make 
structural changes in the village and a new plan- 
ning of the farmer’s house and his private estate 
a matter of necessity. With the development of 
institutions for the care of children great changes 
have taken place in the personal life of the farmers 
and the collective farm women have been released 
from home cares for productive labour on the farm. 
In many cases collective farmers had undertaken the 



REBUILDING THE VILLAGES 


59 


task of reorganising their villages even before the 
war ; they rebuilt their houses and the grounds 
surrounding them, rebuilt the farm’s subsidiary 
buildings, improved their roads, introduced electric 
lighting into the villages and improved the water 
supply. 

The restoration of the villages destroyed by the 
Germans must reflect these tremendous economic and 
social changes which are the result of the socialist 
reconstruction and collectivisation of farming. New 
village buildings, machine and tractor stations, col- 
lective farm buildings, schools, nurseries and others 
were built in accordance with the existing plan of 
the village sometimes contrary to actual require- 
ments and practical demands. As far as their 
architecture was concerned these buildings seldom 
differed greatly from the usual village buildings. 
The cultural improvements in the life of the collec- 
tive farms also demands an improved technical and 
architectural level in the planning of the villages 
and in the construction of the individual buildings. 
In addition to this the economic life of the collective 
farms varies in the different regions so that the 
problem of village construction must find different 
solutions in the forested country, forest- steppe and 
open steppe regions of the country. The' type of 
buildings planned for various geographical zones of 
the country are purely shematic and must be adapted 
to suit the needs of a definite district or village. 
The'stfate demands of. builders exceptional care and 
attention u, to the needs and habits of the Soviet 
peasant and his collective farm. 

This applies first and foremost to the uncleus of 
the collective farm village-*— the; farmer’s house and- 
his holding. Architects working on the reconstruction 
of the peasant homestead are cardfully studying the 1 
economy and ways^qf life in the district.in which they 
are wording, the most typical and widespread type* 



60 


REBUILDING LIBERATED RUSSIA 


of houses and, taking these data into consideration 
are designing new types of peasant houses. In the 
central and northern parts of Russia these houses 
are usually of the "covered farmstead”, type which 
combine the living quarters with a Russian stove to 
heat them and cattleshed all under one roof. The 
planning of this covered farmstead is the work#of 
centuries of experience and has the advantage of 
reducing the number of movements necessary to look 
after the cattle and the small holding with its 
vegetable garden or orchard. Bearing this general 
plan in mind the architect strives to introduce all 
possible rational corrections, such, for example, as an 
improvement in the sanitary conditions of the farm- 
stead, the greater isolation of the part occupied by the 
cattle from the living quarters, the better division 
of the premises into rooms and the introduction of 
better and more effective methods of heating than 
the traditional Russian stove. The scale of these 
changes is limited by the fact that the majority of 
the villages are being rebuilt by the farmers them- 
selves who build according to tradition and without 
any blueprints, employing methods of construction 
and dimensions to which they are accustomed. The 
significance of this independent construction was 
pointed out by Mikhail Kalinin in one of his articles : 
“We have before us,” he wrote, “the task of re- 
establishing the building trade in the ruined villages, 
placing our dependence on the knowledge of compe- 
tent district brigades of builders and the experience 
of the old men of the region.” The more important 
corrections and changes in the structure are, therefore, 
nnly possible where the building work is being under- 
taken by building organisations. The architectural 
aspect of the farmer’s house should contain every 
positive feature that the people have worked out in 
the course of centuries combined with the best 
examples of modern village single-storeyed houses, 
always, of course, taking into consideration the 



REBUILDING THE VILLAGES 


di 


specific features of life in the particular collective 
farm or region. 

The position occupied by the farmer’s house and 
small hold’ng within the village is. now usually 
determined by the standard amount of land allotted 
to each small holding. There was formerly 
no standard in the distribution of this land which 
naturally led to chaos in the planning of villages ;• 
now that the area of the land has been determined 
on (from 0 625 to 1 acre in the central regions of 
Russia) it is possible to plan the disposition of the 
farmers’ holdings and the dwelling houses and subsi- 
diary buildings. The character of the small holding 
has also changed ; nowadays it serves only to supply 
the needs of the farmer’s own family and will 
include an orchard, or apiary, or vegetable garden, 
rabbit hutches etc., and is divided off from the 
collective farm fields which surround the village. 

The planning of the old pre-revolutionary Russian 
village was usually determined by the road along 
which the two rows of similar peasant houses were 
built : the only government regulation that existed 
was a demand for a certain distance between the 
houses to prevent the spreading of any fires; even 
this rule was frequently disregarded. In many cases 
the planning of the village as whole was without 
anv form and quite chaotic. The isolated brick 
buildings of the shops, taverns, and municipal officers 
were standard in form and only served to strengthen 
the monotony of the village rather than break it ; 
they did not provide the village with any obvious 
architectural centre. In pre-revolutionary Russia 
the church played the role of a village centre, and 
was prominent with its white walls, painted roof 
and domes amongst the village houses with their 
broad or flat roofs. This gave the village certain 
characteristic features which lent it a cosy and 
simple picturesqueness. The public buildings of ther 



-62 REBUILDING .LIBERATED RUSSIA 

new collective farm village — the offices of the . collec- 
tive farm, the cottage rtading-room, the nursery, 
in some cases the village soviet, the sch >ol, the co-ope- 
rative, the kindergarten, etc., should form the centre 
of the new village. Their architecture should be 
lively m style and varied both in silhouette and 
form. In designing the collective farm there should 
also be a central group ' of buildings comprising the 
cattlesheds, poultry yards, stables, barns, implement 
-sheds, garages etc. Great variety in the planning 
of the village can be effected by varying the style of 
these two centres, by breaking up the monotony of 
the buildings and of the general impression of the 
village as a whole 

Special attention has to be paid to the reconstruc- 
tion of villages situated on the state highways or on 
arterial motor roads. These transport artgeries were 
the scene of military operations, military stores were 
transported along these roads, motorised units, tanks 
and infantry used them so that they were subjected 
to particularly intense artillery and serial bombard- 
ments and the villages situated on them were mostly 
levelled with the ground. Their only system of 

{ banning, dating back to days long before the deve- 
opment of motor roads, usually consisted of two long 
rows of houses, similar to those mentioned above, 
situated on the two sides, of the road. In connection 
wim the development of road transport such plann- 
ing has a number ol inconveniences, the highway 
became a village street and traffic was forced to slow 
down. In rebuilding such villages a new system of 
planning has now been adopted. The village is 
built to one side of the highway and is connected 
to it through a branch road, In addition to other 
-conveniences this principle allows of greater variety 
in the general planning of the village as a whole 
and a better utilisation of natural features (forests, 
rivers, lakes etc.) and a better disposition of the 



REBUILDING THE VILLAGES 63 

buildings. Especially the public buildings (school, 
hospital, shops, etc.). This system greatly simplifies 
the further development of the highway which may 
be widened without disturbing the village community. 

When the village is removed from the high road 
it is possible to plan it with winding roads so as to 
obtain the greatest possible effect from the surround- 
ing landscape and relief, to make the central build- 
ing stand out prominently, etc. An example of this 
type of village planning is the design drawn up 
in detail for the Teryayeva collective Farm in Volo- 
kolamsk district, Moscow .Region, produced by a. 
group of architects working under the direction of 
Academician Lev Rudnev. The old village stretched 
out along the highway between Volokolamsk and 
Klin in two long lines of monotonously similar 
buildings ; the village was a kilometre and a half 
in length and the buildings were very close together 
a fact which made it dangerous in the event of fire 
and led to the disproportion ate distribution of the 
farmers’ small holdings; the farmers’ dwelling 
houses came right to the edge of the highway with- 
out any green strip between them and the road. The 
new plan makes use of the extremely picturesque 
landscape with its gentle undulations, small lakes 
lying to the west of the village and the winding 
stream known as Bolshaya Sestra (Big Sister) which 
runs through the new village. A new village centre 
is to be built away from the highway and the 
general growth of the village is planned to take 
place in a northerly direction ; the plan provides 
for a village that will be from two to three times 
the size of the old. 

In many cases the Germans destroyed all the 
villages in a district and the architects planning 
the reconstruction have a much greater task to fulfil 
— they" have not only to plan parts of village or 
whole villages but also have to allow for a new 



64 


REBUILDING LIBERATED RUSSIA 


distribution of villages over a large territory with 
allowances for communications between communities. 
In such cases a more or less considerable, regrouping 
of the village is both possible and necessary — for 
example, the territory of a collective farm that has 
been completely devastated by the Germans adjoins 
bigger farms that have suffered less so that those 
who have been burnt out are transferred to the other 
farms. This brings about a complete change in the 
economic geography of the district bringing with it 
the problem of constructing a new network of roads 
joining the villages with the district centre. In this 
replanning of whole districts the most important 
thing is the selection and the transfer of settlements 
from those places which are less healthy , where there 
is a lack of good drinking water etc. Ap^rt from these 
considerations of a purely economic or sanitary 
nature the aesthetic qualities of various localities 
have to be taken into consideration when planning 
the new villages. High land with picturesque sce- 
nery is usually chosen which is near forests, rivers or 
lakes, new roads are also varied in their character 
and their form, and the most important settlements 
are connected by tree-lined avenues. . 

The rebirth of the collective farm village in the 
regions that have been liberated from the Germans 
is going ahead as rapidly as the restoration of the 
towns and their dwelling houses. In 10 months 
of 1943, lor example, 39,211 collective farmers’ houses 
to give shelter to 163, 93^ people were built or rebuilt 
in Smolensk Region. During the two and a half 
months between 15-8-43 and 1-11-43, 25,211 houses 
were made available, including 12,664 that were 
newly built from freshly hewn logs. 

The Government is doing everything possible to 
help the peasants and to encourage their initiative in 
rebuilding their native villages on : 1st January, 1944, 
the agricultural bank of the U. S. S. R, paid out loans 



REBUILDING THE VILLAGES 


65 


to the sum of 36,265,000 roubles for the building of 
private houses. The people are responding by hard r 
selfless work. On the banks of the Don in Voronezh 
Region, for example, there stood the rich collective 
farms in the villages of Derzovka, Nizhny Karbut, 
old and new Kalitva. There were 348 cottages in 
Nizhny Karabut of which the Germans left only 
12 ; the same is approximately true of the other villa- 
ges. The peasants organised the rebuilding of the- 
villages on old Russian community lines : gangs of 
carpenters, stove-builders and blacksmiths worked 
in all these villages ; for their logs they dismantled 
the German bunkers, they got sheet iron for roofing 
and glass for windows from the same source, nails 
they made from wire ; the peasants made use of all 
kinds of local materials, twigs, straw and reeds for 
thatch and from local chalk and clay deposits they 
made bricks and slaked lime. The result of this com- 
munity work was that by October 1943, 2,219 houses 
were rebuilt in these Donside villages. 


5 



CHAPTER X 

EQUIPMENT AND MATERIAL 

The tremendous scale and the urgency of the work 
of restoration have raised a number of problems which 
the government, the builders and engineers engaged 
in research have to be solved immediately. The 
technique, economics and organisation of reconstruc- 
tion differ in many ways from normal building work 
and offer many unexpected practical and theoretical 
problems. In normal architectural practice, lor exam- 
ple, the question of the rationalisation of the work of 
clearing mountains of rubble and ruins from the build- 
ing sites was never raised although this is the first 
task to be done when reconstruction begins. Clearing 
away the ruins of one street, Kreshchatik in Kiev, 
meant clearing an area of 500,000 square metres. 
The restoration of the damaged buildings is also 
connected with the study of the strength and changes 
that have taken place in the technical properties of 
metal concrete, bricks and other materials that have 
been subjected to the action of fire or that have 
been within the radius of activity of artillery and 
aircraft ; the possibility of utilising surviving parts 
of buildings often depends on the solution ol this 
problem ; in rebuilding Stalingrad this problem was 
solved by laboratory experiments on the spot. The 
available material for reconstruction purposes also pre- 
sented new problems; even where the walls of houses 
were left timber and glass were required in tremen- 
dous quantities. For the reconstruction work in 
Stalingrad Region 6,000,000 cubic metres of wood 
were required. Where it was absolutely essential 
building materials were transported with the rapidity 
of loads of war goods. For the rebuilding of power 
stations and distribution grids in the liberated regions 
large quantities of spare parts and other materials 



EQUIPMENT AND MATERIAL 67, 

were transported from the interior of the country by 
air. In general, however, the tremendous work of 
restoration that is going on under wartime conditions, 
must be done with the greatest of economy, a fact 
which applies mostly tp building materials. Trans* 
port cannot be burdened with loads of timber, stone, 
bricks, lime and cement at a time when the army at 
the front needs ammunition and other warlike stores. 
The problem is even more acute in the liberated re- 
gions where the enemy did everything possible to 
put the railways out of commission and to destroy 
the highways and the big transport centres. The 
first imperative law of wartime reconstruction, there- 
fore, is to build only with local materials, to do every- 
thing possible to seek and make what is necessary 
locally. This is a problem that is being worked on by 
central research institutions and on the basis of the 
experience of those centres where reconstruction 
work has already been begun. 

The Kiev builders are carefully dismantling the 
ruins, salvaging all possible building materials such 
as iron, bricks, wire, water-pipes and beams ; the wire 
is used to make nails, the beams and logs are sawn 
up into boards. The people of Kiev saved a glass 
work from being fired by the Germans and are now 
getting window glass from it. A factory manufac- 
turing roofing felt was fired by the Germans but the 
local people have got it working again and have 
obtained thousands of rolls of felt for the roofs of 
Kiev. 300,000 cubic metres of rubble were cleared 
away from Kreshchatic all of which had to be sorted 
out and the bricks salvaged ; this required the labour 
of 8,000 to 10,000 people daily for between three and 
four months. 

In the city of Kalinin the state authorities put a 
guard on the damaged buildings to prevent their being 
dismantled by various building organisations in 
search of stone, bricks and other building materials ; 



68 REBUILDING LIBERATED RUSSIA 

it was seen that at first much valuable building 
material was used in ways far from rational. The 
restoration began with the buildings that were the 
least damaged and which could be repaired and used 
in a comparatively short time. The cost of restoring 
even these buildings amounted to about 40% of their 
original cost. This figure is compiled from the cost 
of repairing doors and windows (7%), ceilings (21%) 
and for plastering (14%). The question then arose of 
a local supply of timber, glass and other material. 
Almost all the building trusts fitted up their own 
sawmills, timber for which was provided by the 
voluntary labour of the towns people who hewed 
the timber during the winter and floated it down the 
river in spring. The production of glass was more 
difficult ; the glassworks of the region were adapted 
to produce window glass and in some cases the fur- 
naces and kilns of potteries were adapted for a similar 
purpose. New equipment was set up in one factory 
and the manufacture of plate glass was begun other 
factories were converted from the manufacture of 
various glass goods to the production of window 
glass. These measures to some extent overcame the 
shortage of window glass. When the reconstruction of 
the second and third category buildings began and a 
considerable amount of masonry and brickwork had 
to be handled it became necessary to find transport 
for large quantities of heavy materials such as sand, 
clay, rubble, etc. The Kalinin builders decided to 
make every possible use of the rubble on the building 
sites. They began using the ashes from the conflag- 
rations instead of sand in mortar ; I cannot help 
mentioning that in doing this the builders were 
unwittingly making use of an old Russian recipe for 
mortar which included fine charcoal and ashes. 
Another measure adopted by the Kalinin builders was 
the use of finely crushed brick rubble and lime instead 
of cement for work which had no strain to bear ; this 
is also an old Russian recipe, very economical and 



EQUIPMENT AND MATERIAL 


09 

rational — the material used to be known as pink 
concrete. This method of converting brick rubble into 
a strong binding mortar is now being widely used by 
builders on all restoration jobs. In search of new 
materials engineers learned to make breeze blocks out 
of cinders from railway yards, fiom iron and steels 
mills and from ordinary boilers. 

Bold technical initiative and resourcefulness is 
to be found everywhere where there is restoration 
work going on. In the field of power engineering, for 
example, the engineers rescued the remains of wreck- 
ed turbines, repaired them and made new parts for 
them in local factories ; they did complicated tech- 
nical jobs on the spot, jobs which were formerly 
considered possible only in a large factory such as 
the welding of drums of boilers, the repair of the 
main sections of huge boilers, the rebuilding of 
transformers, etc. Thanks to the bold initiative of 
power engineers the towns and enterprises in the 
liberated regions were soon provided with electric 
power. 

All wood and brick constructions are examined 
from the same angle of economy and new methods 
of rebuilding them are introduced. This work was 
particularly necessary where there were large numbers 
of single- storey houses to be rebuilt, not only by 
central authorities but also by individuals. An 
analysis of the single-storey house and its most 
important parts — the walls and foundations — led 
to a standard construction being evolved using more 
rational materials and methods. Walls built from 
round logs like the houses in Central Russia not 
only use a tremendous amount of timber (8, 5 to 10 
times more than a frame house) but involve a 
terrific amount of labour which cannot be mecha- 
nised. This type of building can only be permitted 
when the work is unorganised and there is plenty 
of cheap timber available. A house made of sawn 



70 REBUILDING LIBERATED RUSSIA 

timber is more economical but this can only be used 
as temporary measure and then only in places where 
the timber can be floated down rivers or where the 
war has left large quantities of felled timber in the 
forests. Houses with filled walls built of second 
grade timber such as are usually employed for 
temporary hutments cannot be regarded as perma- 
nent buildings in view of a number of technical 
drawbacks and difficulties in the way of exploitation ; 
furthermore a large quantity of material is required 
both for the carcase and the filling. Prefabricated 
houses are much more effective as temporary dwell- 
ings. Engineers V. E. Binner and P. S. Befits- 
Geiman have devised an excellent type of standard 
pre-fabricated house. It is of the barrack hut type, 
has a cubic capacity of 300 cubic metres, will house 
135 men and has a total weight of from 12 to 12’5 
tons. The carefully planned construction gives the 
building its lightness and the assembly of the 
building, tested by experiment, takes from 4 to 6- 
hours ; it can be dismantled in half the time. The 
frame house is much more suitable for permanent 
buildings and is more economical than a building 
made from sawn timber and considerably more 
economical than one from round logs. This demands 
the immediate development of factories for the 
production of effective insulating material from 
industrial waste, mineral wood, tordolite and pulp 
boards and the mechanisation of the production of 
certain wooden parts. Nevertheless timber still 
remains an important item in the work of recons- 
truction. In rebuilding, therefore, one of the first 
tasks is the restoration of old sawmills or the 
organisation of new ones. In Stalingrad four 
Bawmills were started up during the first months 
of the restoration. Government bodies and Commun- 
ist Party organisations have paid considerable 
attention to the preparation of sawn timber. During 
the winter of 1943-44 the timber industry hewed a 



EQUIPMENT AND MATERIAL 71 

large number of trees ; the transport of this mass 
of timber is an exceedingly difficult matter so that 
the use of the rivers to float timber has become more 
important than ever before as it relieves the railways 
and their rolling stock of the necessity of transport- 
ing timber. During the summer of 1944 the rivers 
will be used to transport a quantity of timber which 
would require daily 10,000 wagons on the railways. 
750 wagon loads of wood a day will be floated 
down the Kerchevsk reaches of the river Kama 
during 1944. 

The same reasons of economy and rationalisation 
determine the use of blocks in the building of small 
houses ; these can be made of local raw materi ils 
and consist of unbaked and slightly baked materials. 
The success of such material is due to the fact that 
the raw material is to be found everywhere, the 
expenditure of fuel is very slight and the cost of 
organising the production is low. Walls made from 
such blocks are more economical than those made 
from ordinary bricks both in transport and in the 
labour involved in building. Such blocks can be used 
for inside and outside walls, for ceilings and for 
ornamental details. 

The simplest form is the gravel breeze block ; the 
addition of 0‘5% to 2% resin or bitumen to the gravel 
makes a waterproof mass ; technical experts re- 
commend the addition of some material containing 
albumin such as waste material from leather goods 
factories, the food industry or a decoction of hay or 
straw. 

Gypsum offers the greatest prospects of all mate- 
rials, not only for wartime construction but also 
for post-war building. There are large deposits of 
gypsum almost everywhere, near Moscow, in the 
Ukraine (Artemovsk, Kiev, Kharkov), Gorky, Kazan, 
the Volga Basin (Kuibyshev), Bashkiria (Usa), the 
Kama Basin (Molotov) Central Asia and the Far 



t2 REBUILDING LIBERATED RUB81A 

3Sast. Gypsum is cheaper than bricks or cement ; 
its durability, obtained by a special process, makes 
it suitable for walls, inside and out, ceilings, stair- 
cases, window-sills, etc. If gypsum is properly 
worked its surface does not require any further 
treatment, it can be produced under factory condi- 
tions in variety of forms. 

The architectural and artistic qualities of gypsum 
make it a valuable building material from which 
gay and beautiful buildings may be constructed. 
•Gypsum may be given any form, any colour and 
any design in relief ; it enables the builder to return 
to ornamental designs with factory methods of out- 
put. The manufacture of durable gypsum, therefore, 
is attracting considerable attention ; special factories 
for its production are being built in Staljno, Makey- 
evka, Kramotorsk Mariupol, Nikitobka, Artemovsk, 
and a number of other towns. 

The manufacture of building materials in the 
various localities forms part of the measures in the 
joint decree issued by the Council of People’s Com- 
missars and the Central Committee of the Com- 
munist Party of the Soviet Union which have 
been mentioned several times before. By the 1st 
January, 1944, the following 25 factories had already 
been built to provide local building materials : — 


Type of factory 

Number 

Output capacity 

Manufacturing clay slabs and 
blocks 

5 

12,500 tons. 

„ reed slabs 

8 

155,000 „ 

„ bx*eeze blocks 

2 

105,000 „ 

„ lime 

3 

9,000 „ 

» plaster of paris 

2 

2,000 „ 

„ cement 

1 

3,000 „ 

„ timber parts of 

houses 

1 

20,000 lineal metres. 



EQUIPMENT AND MATERIAL 


■73 


Type of factory 

Number 

I Output capacity 

i 

Manufacturing roofing and 

1 


facing tiles 

I 

( 

! - 1 

400,000 tiles and 

i J 

200,000 square met- 
res facing 

i 


slabs. 

Quarrios producing roofing j 
shale ... | 

i i 

25,000 square met- 

| 

•Quarries producing limestone | 

i 

i 

res. 

300,000 tons of 

i 

i 


blocks per 
annum. 

■ 


All these new types of material, however, do not 
obviate the necessity and possibility of continuing 
to build in brick. Builders are inventing new types 
of constructions which make bricks a .very economi- 
cal building material. 

Thin vaulted shell roofs, for example, which are 
only a quarter of a brick thick and can be used to 
roof spans up to 20 metres are much cheaper than 
reinforced concrete structure. 

Some architects (Academicians G. Holtz and N. 
Kolli) recommend the use of vaulted roof structure 
in timberless regions such as are built in Central 
Asia without the use of moulds or timber in their 
construction. 

Technicians are working on the production of 
types of brick and brick constructions which will 
make bricks a rational medium to use in the manu- 
facture of small houses. One of the methods used 
is to interpose massive bricks with other and more 
effective materials. A second way is to build hollow 
brick walls either with interstices between ordinary 
bricks, bricks with holes through them, large hollow 
bricks or ceramic blocks. A system of hollow 



•74 REBUILDING LIBERATED RUSSIA 

brick wall construction invented by engineer Grigori 
Kuznetsov gives a wall of lighter weight, uses less 
bricks and mortar and dries more quickly than ordi- 
nary walls. If these systems are used bricks may 
easily compete with gravel or slag breeze blocks and 
gypsum blocks. A wall made from ceramic blocks, 
weighs half as much again as a wall of gypsum 
blocks but the labour involved is 15% less. This re- 
quires a more intensive production of light bricks and 
ceramic blocks, an industry that has begun to 
develop in the Western Ukraine, in the Moscow 
Region and other places. The study of American 
methods of producing Hollow bricks and building 
with them is of great help to us. 

Economy in building materials and the greatest 
possible use made of local resources are an obligatory 
condition in drawing up architectural designs for 
the restoration both of the collective farms and the 
towns. The town of Istra, for example, is situated 
in a richly wooded district but can nevertheless not 
depend to a very great extent on wood as a building 
material as the forests are to a great extent required 
for the retention of water. Those who are rebuild- 
ing the town, therefore, are making use of bricks 
from local clay, peat slabs compressed from local 
peat, etc. Timber must be expended economically 
for the frames of small houses built of standard 
wooden parts with slabs of insulation, prefabricated 
walls and light roofs. 

The peculiar feature of reconstruction work: 
is its combination of all the methods of build- 
ing from the most primitive local methods 
in the villages to the employment of modern high- 
speed methods and prefabrication. This greatly acce- 
lerates the speed of reconstruction and makes fuller 
use of all available resources. High-speed building is 
being extended and perfected in the U. S. S. R. and our 



EQUIPMENT AND MATERIAL 


75 


builders are studying the experience in prefabricated 
building gained in the U. S. A. and Great Britain. 

Rebuilding work has also made necessary certain 
changes in the number of workers and machines re- 
quired for building jobs. 

Experience gained in building in Kalinin has 
shown that for the rebuilding of houses that have 
retained most of their walls carpenters, joiners and 
roofers are needed to restore the wooden parts of the 
house and the roof. Workers therefore had to be 
trained in these trades. In the same way as build-' 
ing materials have to be found near the building 
site in war-time so the staffs of building workers for 
the jobs in hand have to be trained locally, right on 
the building job and without the organisation of any 
courses or schools but simply by an experienced wor- 
ker training a group of pupils as they work. Ins- 
tructor Kotov at Kalinin, for example, trained 63 
pupils on the job and a carpenter named Velikanov 
taught his trade to 12 girls. 

The nature of the mechanisation of the building 
work was also quite different from what we were 
accustomed to in pre-war days ; most building jobs used 
to be furnished with a big crane capable of lifting 
loads to any height. Experience gained on recons- 
truction jobs, however, has shown that these cranes 
are not profitable and that a light winch, easily 
transportable anywhere on the job, is much more 
suitable. 

In rebuilding industrial concerns and buildings 
near a railway the “repair and restoration trains'* or- 
ganised by the People’s Commissariat of Railways are 
extremely useful ; they are little travelling factories 
carrying a portable, power installation, certain ma- 
chine and building materials and staffed with a 
complete gang of experienced building workers. At 
Stalingrad the Germans burnt a sawipiil belonging to 
the railway ; repair train number 16 arrived at the 



76 REBUILDING LIBERATED RUSSIA 

scene of the mill on 2nd May, 1943 ; within a few 
hours the building site had been cleared and the 
power installation erected ; within 24 hours a tempo- 
rary barrack building with water and electricity 
was ready. Eighty-five days later the saw-mill be- 
.gan work. 

Practical experience gained has also led to certain 
corrections in the order in which the buildings of a 
town are rebuilt. Buildings of the second and third 
categories, that is buildings which have been damag- 
ed some 75% to 80%, are usually situated close to- 
gether in whole blocks and sections of the town that 
have been subjected to the greatest amount of gunfire ; 
it is more economical to build these by streets or 
blocks as this simplifies the transport of material and 
economises in expenditures connected with communi- 
cations and electric power. With regard to the work 
of the architect, this method of rebuilding whole 
blocks enables him to preserve the unity of the 
decoration and composition of that section of 
the city which is especially valuable in towns like 
Kiev with its historical groups of buildings, or in 
Kalinin, with its blocks of buildings erected by the 
famous Russian architect Matvey Kazakov. 

Town building organisations have learned to make 
the fullest use of city transport facilities and the trans- 
port facilities of tbe surrounding districts. In the 
town of Stalinsk, in . Kemerov region a decision 
was taken not to allow any truck to run empty 
and to make use of all returning vehicles : thanks to 
this measure adopted in 1943 the . transport of 5,000 
.cubic metres of gravel and a large quantity of other 
building material was effected. 

By making the best use of new experience gained 
.added to scientific research, initiative and organisa- 
tion, reconstruction work that would have been re- 
garded as impossible under normal conditions is 
(being successfully carried out. 



CHAPTER XI 


HELP FROM THE REAR AREAS 

The work of reconstruction could never have been 
carried on to such an extent had it had to depend 
on available technical means alone. That which 
ensured its success was tha fact that it became a 
task in which the whole people participated in the 
same way as they did in the war against fascism 
which gave rise to the people’s guard and the 
powerful partisan movement and became the Great 
Patriotic War”. The restoration of the liberated 
regions has become a sort of second front to which 
the attention of all forces within the Soviet Union 
are attracted. The country helped those towns and 
villages which had been liberated doing everything 
possible to bring them back to life and enable them 
to struggle against the enemy : the country gave 
them food and machinery, building material and 
workers. 

After the great, Stalingrad battle the heroic city 
did not drop back into the shadow, it did not become 
•i city of the rear areas. A commission of experts set 
up by the Academy of Architecture of the U. S. S. R. 
the People’s Commissariat of Municipal Building 
and other building organisations arrived in February 
1943 and determined the nature and amount of the 
preliminary work^.of restoration and the further 
reconstruction wrtjh would later be undertaken. 
One of the first towns to render fraternal help in 
rebuilding Stalingrad was the textile centre of 
Ivanovo, the “Russian Manchester”. The town 
collected or manufactured large quantities of tools 
and building materials, the workers in the timber 
industry prepared 10,000 cubic metres of building 
wood above plan, the engineering workers made 



78 


REBUILDING LIBERATED RUSSIA 


■sufficient equipment for 170 blacksmith’s forges and 
made a large quantity of nails, etc. Steamers and 
trains brought Archangel and Siberian wood to 
Stalingrad, brought prefabricated houses from 
Molotov and Archangel, brought glass from Penza ; 
the lumbermen of the collective farms in Gainin 
District felled 20,000 cubic metres of wood in addi- 
tion to their normal programme to send to Stalin- 
grad. Building materials came from Gorky, its fac- 
tories, the Molotov Automobile Works and the “Red 
Sormovo” Locomotive Works, also sent Stalingrad 
automobiles and iron for the roofs. Distant Azerbai- 
jan sent thousands of head of cattle and food pro- 
ducts. Even Leningrad sent Stalingrad several 
trains loaded with tools and equipment for the fac- 
tories. From Tashkent, Kokand, Samarkand came 
cement, iron, nails. Organisations and individuals 
made donations to the Stalingrad Reconstruction Fund 
—the Young Communist League of the U. S. S. R. 
collected 16,000,000 rubles for the restoration of 
Stalingrad’s cultural institutions ; tens of millions 
of rubles were contributed by army units ; Lunin, 
the celebrated engine driver of the Tomsk railway 
brought 1,000 tons of coal and himself took it to 
Stalingrad. 

In the same way other liberated towns were 
given the support of various regions and towns of the 
country. The Government of the U. S. S. R. allotted 

30.000 tons of metal, tubing and girders. 450,000 
cubic metres of wood, 15,000 tons of cement and 

300.000 square metres of window l^lass for the res- 
toration of Ukrainian Industries. The Bashkir 
people adopted reborn Voroshilovgrad and region. 
In September 1943 they sent many machines and 
tools, 80 wagons of sawn timber, about 2,000 items 
for buildings, 22 wagons of plaster and lime, 2*5 
tons of paint and oil and a number of machines for 
building. Uzbekistan is helping in the rebuilding 



HELP FROM THE BEAR AREAS . 


7a 


of Kharkov ; Ivanovo Kiubyshev and Yaroslavl are 
helping rebuilding Smolensk ; Foronezh, a city which 
received 47,000,000 rubles from government sources for 
restoration in 1943 alone also gets building materials 
from Penza, Lipetsk, Tomsk and Novosibirsk ; the 
rich country of Siberia sends the liberated city the 
most varied items from timber and machines, to 
pianos and Siberian tea, equipment for restaurants, 
etc. The Town of Molotov has adopted Rostov to 
help in its restoration. 

The most valuable item and that of which there 
was the greatest shortage for restoration work was 
skilled labour. The state came to the help of the 
building organisations by the rapid training of build- 
ing workers in vocational schools. Out of the 
200,000 young workers graduated in 1944, 55,000 
were sent to the liberated regions ; amongst them 
are bricklayers, carpenters, plasterers and joiners. 
This of course was but a drop in the ocean. The 
deficiency has been made up ever since reconstruction 
began in 1943 by young workers coming to the 
liberated regions from all parts of the Soviet 
Union. 

A gang of the best mechanics from the Rublev 
pumping Station in Moscow was sent to Smolensk for 
the purpose of repairing the water-mains. The Young 
Communist League (Komsomol) was of great help 
to Stalingrad ; the Komsomol sent young people to 
the city from Kirov and Alma-Ata, from Omsk and 
Archangel, from Gorky and Astrakhan. Twenty 
of the country’s b^st building workers, Stakhano*. 
vite instructors belonging to the People’s Commis- 
sariat of Building, worked for three months training 
young workers and handing over to them their 
experience of the best way to lay bricks, to build 
with wood, to organise their brigades of workers,, 
etc. By the beginning of 1944 the number of young 
building workers in Stalingrad amounted to 15,000. 



80- REBUILDING LIBERATED RU88IA 

They were inspired by the romanticism of creative 
labour and by an enthusiasm such as existed during 
the period of the First Five-Year Plan when the 
giants of Stalingrad’s Industries were built. The 
growing competitions led to still better performances 
and work that was more productive than ever 
before ; in May 1943 Svetlans Libo, a school girl 
in the graduation class, laid 2,380 bricks in a single 
shift, shortly after this another girl Nadezhda 
Tiuleneva, of the Kirov Komsomol laid 3,600 bricks 
in a shirt ; then came the record of an ex-student 
of Alma-Ata pedagogical institute, Ada Weinstein, 
who laid 3,952 bricks and Lida Babkina of Belgorod 
who laid 7,000 bricks. One of the most outstanding 
feats of bricklaying is that of a 22 years Moldavian, 
Grigory Khristov, who has experienced the hardships 
of life as an agricultural labourer under a Rumanian 
boyar ; he does eleven times his quota and lays 
14,037 bricks in one shift. Many of these enthusiasts 
working at Stalingrad have been awarded certifi- 
cates of merit by the Central Committee of the 
Young Communist League. 

Amongst the ever-growing population of Stalin- 
grad, brigades of voluntary building workers have 
been formed, mainly from those returning from 
evacuation- 

The whole Soviet Union now knows the story of 
Alexandra Maximovna Cherkasova. She is an 
ordinary Soviet woman, a soldier’s wife, a mother 
of two children who works in a kinder-garten. 
During the Battle of Stalingrad she became a medi- 
cal orderly and saved the lives of many wounded 
soldiers. On the 1st February, 1943, she was present 
at a meeting in Stalingrad on the occasion of the 
liberation of the city where the Stalin-graders took 
an oath to be as staunch on the field of labour as 
they had been on the field of battle ; then began 
the Sunday volunteer work to clean up the city and 



HELP FROM THE REAR AREAS 


81 


this simple woman got the idea of getting together 
a brigade of workers to begin re-building. She ga- 
thered 18 woman workers from the kindergartens. 
On the 13th June this brigade began work on the 
restoration of a building that was defended by a hand- 
ful of men from the 62nd army who withstood dozens 
of attacks by infantry, artillery and aircraft. Its 
defenders had written on the walls of the building ; 
“To our Motherland ! Here Rodimtsev’s guards stood 
and died. . . . This building was defended by guards 
sergeant Yakov Fedotovich Pavlov”. “Pavlov House” 
was the first building that Cherkasova’s brigade 
repaired. They worked two or three hours every 
evening after they had finished work in the kinder- 
gartens and, devoted all their Sundays to the resto- 
ration of the city. Amongst these modest heroes 
of the Stalingrad epic was 70-year old Mazurina, 
mother of three soldiers, another elderly woman 
named Agrippina Morchukova, a teacher from the 
kindergarten, Maria Vilyachkina, a cook Catherine 
Martynova and other women who had all under- 
taken to learn building trades. They learnt them 
very quickly. 

Charkasova then issued an appeal to the people 
of the city, to factory and office workers, housewives, 
in fact to all ablebodied citizens to devote their spare 
time to the rebuilding of the city. Her appeal was 
answered by thousands of volunteers. In Dzerzhinsk 
Region alone there were 108 such brigades who 
rebuilt 10 houses, 2 bath-houses, a hostel for workers, 
2 restaurants, 2 shops, a school and a number of 
other buildings ; in Kirov District at this time there 
were 234 brigades. The collective farms of the region 
also answered the appeal and sent workers to the 
city. 

The initiative of the people was directed into the 
right channels by the trade union and Communist 

6 



REBUILDING- LIBERATED RUSSIA 


party organisations in Stalingrad. They organised 
the technical training of the volunteers in schools 
and at special courses so that a school teacher 
or a book-keeper became a skilled building worker 
in the evenings. 

This was very understandable under war condi- 
tions where the scientist or the artist, the worker 
and the peasant took his place in the ranks of the 
soldiers. Antip Khrenov a school-teacher from 
Rzhev was a partisan during the first part of the 
war and then, when his native town was liberated 
he took charge of a warehouse handling nails, 
furniture, household utensils and other items neces- 
sary for the work of reconstruction. This was just 
as much a military duty only it was now on the 
construction front ; it is also natural that this peace- 
ful front of creative labour should produce heroes 
and legends. 

Here are a few of the Stalingrad htroes : Maria 
Voriskina learned the trade of plasterer and succeed- 
ed in doing 15 quotas in one shift : Tanya Troksha 
a Tatar and a shop assistant before the war is now 
forewoman in a brigade of carpenters ; Olga Sint- 
sova a book-keeper before the war is now the leader 
of the best Stalingrad brigade of concrete workers. 
From June 1943 to February 1944 over 35,000 people 
took part in the work of the Cherkasova brigades ; 
they put in 655,000 working days. In the course 
of six months they helped restore or build over 11,000 
houses, 119 restaurants, 116 shops, 13 hospitals, 5 
cinemas and all the schools. 

The so-called Cherkasova movement in Stalin- 
grad was only one way in which the tremendous 
enthusiasm of the people of the liberated towns 
made itself manifest. 

During the seven months that followed the 
liberation of badly battered Kharkov brigades of 
workers consisting of old people, housewives and 



HELP FROM THE REAR AREAS 83 

juveniles did a tremendous amount of work. About 

15.000 people in Kharkov turned out to repair 
the railways ; a 75-year old woman named Greb- 
enichenko organised a brigade of workers to clear 
the railway tracks ; everyday 500-600 people 
worked on rebuilding the bridges in the October 
District. Like Cherkasova in Stalingrad, a 50-year 
old woman of Kharkov, a housewife named Budoxia 
Molchanova became famous ; she organised a brigade 
of housewives who mastered building trades ; 
very soon many brigades of women were working 
as plasterers, bricklayers, stove-builders, etc. They 
played an important part in rebuilding houses, 
factories, schools and nurseries. The restoration of 
the children’s institutions and the school attracted 
the greatest attention from the volunteer builders 
who in Lenin District alone rebuilt 10 schools, 8 
kindergartens and 10 nurseries. The youth of the 
city flayed a very important part in the rebuilding 
of Kharkov ; 18,000 young people organised 108 
repair brigades for volunteer building work. They 
repaired 15 factory buildings, 177 schools, 15 voca- 
tional schools and 600,000 square metres of floor 
space in living houses. Thanks to the help of the 
people the Kharkov City Soviet was able to get the 
trams and trolley buses running in a comparatively 
short time and to provide the city with water, elec- 
tricity and gas. 

By the end of April 1944 there weJo 932 brigades 
of 19,500 volunteers working on the restoration of 
Kursk. The townspeople were not satisfied with this 
and undertook to raise the army of volunteers to 

60.000 ; they decided that everybody living in Kursk 
•must do at least 10 hours work a month on the build- 
ing jobs. The fulfilment of this plan resulted in 
restoration work being done that would otherwise 
have required the labour of 3,000 builders for a whole 
year. 



84 


REBUILDING LIBERATED RUSSIA 


Similar enthusiasm is seen in Kiev and thesur- 
. rounding villages where the people are determined 
to heal the wounds of the “Mother of Russian cities.” 

In heroic Leningrad where the barbaric German 
bombardments did such great damage. to the dwelling 
houses the work of restoration is well under way 
thanks mainly to the efforts to the Leningraders 
themselves. In the Vyborg District of Leningrad 
415 townspeople began voluntary building work at the 
beginning of April 1944 ; by the end of the month this 
number had increased to 4,347 people. In the course 
of that month they had completely repaired dwelling 
houses with a floor space of 1,859 square metres 
and done lighter repairs to 42,000 square metres. 
This volunteer movement in Leningrad is headed 
by the deputies to the local Soviets and people promi- 
nent either in the houses or the factories. On the 
initiative of a woman deputy, Zhiglinskaya, the 
inhabitants of a big apartment house repaired 41 
apartments and 541 square metres of other living 
space for soldiers’ families in the course of two 
months. The workers in various factories, offices, 
schools, hospitals, kindergartens, etc., consider it 
their duty to rebuild or repair these premises as 
quickly as possible. Doctors and nurses are repairing 
the hospitals, teachers and pupils are repairing the 
schools ; the workers of Vyborg Public Health De- 
partment are working overtime to put all their 
premises in good shape again ; they have repaired 
apartments with a total floor space of 5,500 square 
metres and have cleared and laid out 10,000 square 
metres of courtyards, playgrounds and subsidiary 
buildings. The staff of one of the factories put in 
10,000 man-hours repairing their factory during the' 
first month of 1944 building season. 

The tremendous experience in directing the initia- 
tive of the masses which has been accumulated by the 
Leningrad organisations is now being used to advant- 



HELP PROM THE REAR AREAS 


85 


age in rebuilding the city. The districts are split 
up into separate wards each with a detailed plan 
for the restoration work to be done which takes into 
consideration the amount of labour and material 
available, the tools required and the technical advice 
and help that will be needed. Every volunteer build- 
er is issued with a booklet “participant in the rebuild- 
ing of Leningrad” in which all the patriotic work 
which he does is recorded ; volunteers or brigades 
who earn special distinction are recorded on a roll of 
honour, have the right to receive increased rations, 
passes to rest homes, etc. 

The attention paid to restoration work in Kiev is 
equally great ; a special newspaper “Restoration of 
Kreshchatic” is published which may be compared 
with any paper published at the front. It deals with 
the task to be fulfilled and the successes and achieve- 
ments of individuals and brigades of workers. 

Street and house committees play an important 
part in the organisation of the work for they know 
the needs and possibilities of their own section of the 
city and organise the people for work on Sundays 
and for participation in the building work. In Rzhev 
16 Sundays were devoted to the collection of building 
materials and 25 to the collection of scrap iron 
from among the ruins. This way of helping the ful- 
filment of the urgent work of the municipal authori- 
ties first began amongst the Soviet people during the 
the Civil War ; it has now become widespread in 
Voronezh, Kharkov and other liberated cities. 

The same enthusiasm is shown in rebuilding im- 
portant industrial concerns, power stations, power- 
grids, etc. In the spring of 1944 the flood prevented 
the building of the last 8 kilometres of line bringing 
electric power to Voroshilovgrad ; the wire could not 
be dragged through the mud either by tractors or 
horses ; the people of Voroshilovgrad, together with 
the electricians actually carried the wire and other 



86 


REBUILDING LIBERATED RU88IA 


■tore on their own shoulders and thus brought electric 
current to their city. Volunteer builders also threw 
a kilometre long wooden bridge across the Dnieper 
near Kiev in one month. 

The experience gained by the people in restoring 
the liberated regions is passed back to the towns in 
the interior of the country where the people are also 
helping with building work. In April and May 1944, 
in the towns of Moscow Region the people worked 
520,000 man-days and cleared away tens of thou- 
sands of tons of rubbish, cleared 236 kilometres of 
gutters, mended 34,000 metres of fpncing, painted 
and repaired the facades of 3,000 houses, etc. 

Thus with the joint efforts of the state and the 
people, science and initiative towns, villages and 
culture that the Germans left for dead are being 
revived. With regard to the restoration of Soviet 
culture we shall have something to say in another 
chapter. 



CHAPTER XII 


THE RESTORATION OF SOVIET CULTURE 
IN THE LIBERATED REGIONS 

The restoration of normal life in a town or village 
is not confined to rebuilding the dwelling houses and 
municipal services. The cultural services and amuse- 
ments to which the people of the Soviet Union have 
been accustomed must also be restored. The enemy 
dealt this side of our life a particularly heavy blow. 

When Hitler was preparing his armoured hordes 
for the assault on the U.S.S.R. he said : “We are bar- 
barians”, and we want to be barbarians, a slogan that 
justified and glorified the German soldier in his 
hatred and destruction of culture. In addition to 
this the Germans and their allies worked out a plan 
for the systematic destruction or plunder of cultural 
treasures in the lands they occupied. The lands of 
the Soviet people had a special place in this plan for 
they formed the basis of the age-old madness of the 
German “Drang nach Osten.” This system of 
plunder and destruction carefully planned with 
typical German thoroughness and stupidity has 
become known to the whole world through the secret 
documents and instructions on the behaviour of 
German soldiers “In the East” discovered and pub- 
lished by the Soviet Government. On the one hand 
there is the thesis of Field Marshal Reichenau to the 
effect that “no artistic treasures in the east are of 
any significance” and the destruction of these trea- 
sures ; on the other hand we have the “activity” of 
the “special battalions” of Rosenberg for the “scienti- 
fic organisation” of the plundered galleries and. 
museums, records and libraries and for their transport 
to “das Vaterland.” In the Rumanian general staff's 
instructions, “on the functions of the organisation 



88 


REBUILDING LIBERATED RUSSIA 


Z. I, specialising in the spoils of war and trophies” 
issued on 16th June, 1942, we read of the ‘'collection 
in strict secrecy,” that is the looting of art treasures, 
instructions on how to cut a canvas by a famous 
master from its frame and, roll it up in a tube for 
dispatch to the west by hospital train. 

The results of this “work” performed by the 
occupation armies have not yet been fully discovered 
but we know that the sum involved in the occupied 
Soviet territories is one that defines human imagi- 
nation. 

When the enemy fled to the west he left behind 
him the ruins of countless priceless monuments of the 
national cultures and art of Russia, Belorussia and 
the Ukraine. If you travel along the whole eastern 
front from north to south and inspect only the chief 
items in this sad list you will see the ruins of the 
palaces and the lacerated parks of the Leningrad 
suburbs, Novgorod the Great, a museum city turned 
into a heap of ruins, — here Nereditsa, Volotovo, 
Kovalevo and many other gems of Russian 12th-14th 
Century architecture have perished ; the ruins of 
New Jerusalem Monestery near Moscow ; battered 
Smolensk ; the ruins of the 11th and 12th century 
buildings in Chernigov ; the Cathedral of the Kiev 
Pechersk Monastery built in the 11th Century and 
many, many more. The same fate overtook the 
museums and libraries, a monstrous auto-da-fe 
organised by the Germans which devoured millions 
of books, hundreds of thousands of valuable collec- 
tions. In the little town of Rzhev 60,000 books 
perished, in Smolensk five libraries with 640,000 
books were blown up and burnt, 320,000 books were 
removed from the libraries of the Academy of Scien- 
ces in Kiev, the library of 1,300,000 books in Kiev 
University was burnt. In the town of Makeyevka, 
in Stalino Region, 35,000 books from the central 
library were burnt on a bonfire by order of the town 



THE RESTORATION OF SOVIET CULTURE 


89 


commandant Fugler, a similar number of books was 
burnt in the library at Konstantinovka, 70,000 books 
perished at Orel, 3,000,000 books were destroyed in 
one of the libraries of Rostov-on-Don, and so on. 

The list of museums that were destroyed in our 
towns is a fearful one ; amongst them were some of 
the bigger museums of history in Kiev, Chernigov, 
Novgorod and Smolensk, real treasure houses of 
national art and culture. The enemy strove to uproot 
the national self-consciousness of our people and to 
prevent any possible restoration of our culture — with 
savage thoroughness they destroyed our kindergar- 
tens and nurseries, our schools and our colleges. In 
Rostov-on-Don, for example, all the theatres, libraries, 
the pedagogical institute, the automobile technicum 
and dozens of schools were destroyed ; in Rostov 
Region the enemy completely destroyed 1,379 schools, 
over 400 cottage reading-rooms, 120 libraries ancf 67 
kindergartens. 

All this had to be revived immediately, it could 
not be put off one single day. 

Amongst the cultural and communial amenities 
that are being restored primary importance is given 
to the children’s institutions, the kindergartens, nurs- 
eries and schools. Love for the children and solicitude 
for their well being and upbringing is one of the 
characteristic features of the Soviet system and the 
Soviet people ; this love and solicitude have now 
grown beyond anything before known and have been 
given a new impulse. One of the most tragic results 
•of the German invasion is the great suffering of the 
children, the thousands of orphans whose patents 
perished at the hands of the butchers or who were 
killed fighting in defence of their country. For the 
second time in the history of the Soviet Union the 
state has to deal with the terribly important problem 
of homeless children which first arose as a result of 
the First World War and the Civil War which to- 



90 


REBUILDING LIBERATED RUSSIA 


gether covered the years between 1914 and 1922. At 
a time when the full attention of all people today is 
devoted to the conduct of the war and the restoration, 
of the liberated regions the women working in the 
factories, collective and state farms must be relieved: 
as much as possible of household cares ; the first and 
most important help that can be given to them is tO' 
assist them in bringing up healthy and happy 
children. 

Children’s institutions are the subject of a special 
programme in article ten of the instructions issued, 
by the Council of People’s Commissars of the U.S.S.R. 
and the Central Committee of the Communist Party 
of the Soviet Union on “urgent tasks for the restora- 
tion of the economy of the regions liberated from 
German occupation.” The children of soldiers and 
partisans and orphans whose parents have been> 
killed are the subject of special government solicitude. 
The Suvorov Cadet Schools for 4,500 students, special 
vocational schools for 9,200 children, children’s homes- 
for 18,050 children and special reception points 
where 2,000 children are maintained until 
adopted or sent to a home have been organised under 
this instruction. 

When school and kindergarten teachers return to- 
the devastated region their first job is the 
registration of the surviving children. Seven school 
teachers who returned to Stalingrad gathered toge- 
ther, all the children from the dugouts and trenches — 
there were 223 of them. Amongst the items sent by 
towns in the rear to those they have adopted are sets 
of equipment for children’s nurseries, kindergartens,, 
schools, etc. 

The result of this solicitude of the whole people 
for the children and their upbringing is that the- 
restoration of the children’s institutions keeps pace- 
with the rebuilding of the dwelling houses, municipal 
utilities and the factories. 



THE RESTORATION OF SOVIET CULTURE 91* 

Out of the 1,520 schools that existed in the Kalinin 
Region before the war and most of which were 
wrecked by the Germans, 1,126 had been rebuilt by 
the 25th October, 1943. By April 1944 in Rostov 
Region 2,430 schools had been restored out ot the 
pre-war number of 2,609. In the 36 districts oi 
Smolensk Region that had been liberated by August 
1943, 980 elementary schools, 253 seven-year and 3VJ 
ten-year secondary schools have been reopened. By 
the beginning of the 1943-44 school year the RS 
alone had reconstructed and opened 23,895 schools 
for 2,800,000 children and by the beginning of 1944 
the school buildings that had been rebuilt numbered 
15,285 which together with those that survived made 

24.000 schools ; the 1944 budget allotted 1,000 million 
rubles for the further restoration of the schools. 

By the beginning of 1944 a network of kinder- 
gartens had been opened in the liberated regions' 
before the war the kindergartens of these regions 
catered for 66,000 children whereas they now catef 
for 70,000. In addition to this, in pursuance of the 
above-mentioned “instructions” 101 children’s homes 
with accommodation for 13,100 children have been 
opened in the liberated regions for orphans and for 
the children of soldiers and partisans. The 1944 
budget provides for an increase of these childrens 
homes to provide accommodation for 48,000, kinder- 
gartens for 100,000 and nurseries for 41,000 children. 

The restoration of the children’s institutions in 
the Ukraine and Belorussia is developing on similar' 
lines. By the 1st January, 1944, in the liberated 
regions of the Ukraine 10,612 schools had been 
reopened. In 1944, the schools of 8 regions of the 
eastern part of the Ukraine will be attended by 

1.800.000 children and the kindergartens will accom- 
modate 57,000 children. In the liberated regions 
of Belorussia 600 schools have already been rebuilt 
and by the end of 1944 a further 630 will be opened. 



REBUILDING LIBERATED RU8SIA 


n 


The colleges and research institutes which in pre- 
war days were splendidly equipped are much more 
difficult to restore. The elementary and secondary 
schools required tremendous quantities of text-books 
and other materials — for example, 2,530,000 text- 
books, about 7,000,000 exercise books and over 
3,000,000 pencils have been sent to liberated Ukraine 
— but how much more difficult and how long a task 
is it to carry out even preliminary work on« the 
restoration of research institutions, libraries, etc. ? 

One would be very naive to believe that the Soviet 
Union could today, while the war is still in progress, 
organise, say the production of pi’eoision apparatus 
and laboratory equipment in quantities sufficient to 
satisfy the needs of the research institutions and 
colleges, or that at the present moment the neces- 
sary text-books can be published or republished in 
quantities sufficient to make up even to some extent 
the tremendous loss that the fascist barbarians 
inflicted on our libraries. Such ideas are of course 
utopian even for the near future. 

Naturally the enemy will have to replace a lot 
when he has been defeated, 'Germany will pay for 
her crimes with her libraries and laboratories, the 
Germans will be obliged to return th3 property they 
have stolen. Life, however, cannot await that time, 
the colleges and libraries must begin work immedi- 
ately. The only way left was to redistribute the 
books and scientific equipment available in the 
country, a way well-known to the Russian people, 
that of brotherly help, town helping town and region 
helping region. On the 23rd August, 1942, for exam- 
ple, the State Medical Institute in Stalingrad was 
set on fire by German bombs and the valuable labo- 
ratory apparatus and the X-ray and anatamoical 
museum were destroyed. On the 1st October, 1943, 
& months after the Germans had been defeated at 
Stalingrad, the Institute was able to reopen its doors. 



THE RESTORATION OF SOVIET CULTURE 


93 


The necessary apparatus had come from medical 
institutes in the towns of Ivanovo, Irkutsk, Molotov ; 
over 20,000 books were donated from the libraries 
of 13 medical institutes and from the central library 
in Moscow. A special state “book fund” containing 
4,500,000 books has been set up in the R.S.F.S.R. for 
the purpose of building up libraries ; by the begin- 
ning of 1944 this fund had sent 1,650,000 books to 
the liberated regions. 

Thanks to measures such as this the colleges, 
research institutions and libraries are coming back 
to life quite quickly. Forty-eight colleges and 
about 100 technical institutes had begun work in 
liberated Ukraine by 1st January, 1944 ; in Rostov 
Region 521 village reading rooms out of 597 had 
begun working. This does not mean that all these 
cultural institutions have all the equipment that is 
considered necessary when judged by pre-war stan- 
dards. They will require help for a long time to 
come in order to recover from the losses caused by the 
Germans and to return to normal life. 

As an example of the restoration of one of the 
larger cultural institutions of the country I will cite 
the Kirov Opera House in Leningrad. It yras badly 
damaged by a German high explosive bomb which 
fell in the right wing of the building in the autumn 
of 1941 and damaged the upper and lower circles and 
the lobbies and smashed the 12-ton iron curtain. In 
December 1943 the work of restoration began and 
was finished in time for the opening of the 1944 
season. To restore the moulded and sculptured 
decorations of the theatre about 4,000 items had to 
be made. An excellent craftsman, Konstantinov, 
repaired the damaged chandeliers for which he used 
22,000 pieces of crystal glas3 ; the furniture for the 
theatre was copied from the old furniture. 

The State educational authorities are faced with 
the tremendous problem of replacing the huge net-* 



94 REBUILDING LIBERATED RUSSIA 

work of museums that has been destroyed, looted 
and burned by the occupants. The museums had 
reached a high level of development during the 25 
pre-war years and included many small museums 
devotd to the study of the history, culture and 
naturael history of the regions in which they are 
situated ; older museums existing before the revolu- 
tion had new collections added to them by expeditions 
equipped by state organisations or by local amateurs. 
Many of the museums still have excellent collections 
with which to start up again, collectings that were 
evacuated in good time or were saved by the fore- 
thought and heroism of the museum workers who 
buried their collections or hid them in secret places ; 
other museums perished in their entirety. 

Things that have been stolen we shall get back 
from the enemy and will return them to the mu- 
seums, that which has been destroyed we*ehall, to 
some extent, compensate at the expense of Germany 
and her confederates in crime, but in the meantime 
we must reply on what we have in hand. Many 
of the museums in the interior of the country have 
quite rich reserve stores of duplicate exhibits which 
will to some extent replace that which has been lost 
in the ruined museums. Our scientific bodies, espe- 
cially those that organise archaeological expeditions, 
are taking into consideration the need to re-equip 
a number of museums and are working in places 
that have already been studied in order to obtain 
material that is of value equal to that which has 
been lost. All this, however, will not replace every- 
-thing that has been destroyed ; many of the treasures 
were unique and can now only be shown in the form 
of copies and models. Nevertheless we may say 
that our museums are coming to life again. 

Those in the towns that were first liberated by 
the Red Army have already opened their doors 
•to visitors ; the Tolstoy Memorial Museum at 



THE RESTORATION OF SOVIET CULTURE 


95 


Yasnaya Polyana, the Tsiolkovsky Museum at 
Kaluga, Chekhov’s House at Taganrog and the 
Chaikovsky Museum at Klin, near Moscow, have all 
been reopened. 

Regional Natural History Museums and Art 
Galleries are also gradually returning to normal. 
The Kalanin Picture Gallery is open. The Smolensk 
Museum is organising a big war exhibition in addi- 
tion to reconstructing its former galleries. 

The Kiev museums suffered terrible losses. The 
Kiev Museum of Folk Art exhibited 58,000 items 
before the war all depicting various branches of the 
folk art of the Ukraine. These valuable collections 
were looted by the Germans and the best exhibits 
stolen by Erik Koch, Reichskommissar of the Uk- 
raine, and by Rosenberg in person. At the time of 
writing (summer 1944) the museum is almost ready 
for reopening. The Kiev Museum of History had 
over 600,0d0‘ exhibits of which only the most valuable 
could be evacuated ; we saved only 10% of this 
collection. The Germans stole the rest and then 
blew up the eight buildings which formed the 
museum. In the summer of 1944 the museum was 
able to exhibit part of its collection — the Kiev Rus 
Department, the Department of Ethnography and 
a number of others. The Government of the Ukraine 
is paying special attention to the rebuilding of the 
botanical gardens which form part of the plan for 
the reconstruction of Kiev. Our scientists had begun 
the work on laying out the gardens before the war ; 
a picturesque stretch of the Dnieper Bank was allot- 
ted for this purpose near the old Vydubitsky Monas- 
tery. The Government decided to push the work 
forward as quickly as possible during 1944. The 
gardens will serve to increase the number of useful 
plants grown in the Ukraine and will contain 
about 3,000 varieties of trees and shrubs that can 
grow in local climatic conditions. 



REBUILDING LIBERATED RUSSIA 


In conclusion I want to speak , about the restora- 
tion or preservation of the remains of art and his- 
torical treasures that the German invaders ruined — 
old churches with their priceless mural paintings. 
Kremlins (Fortresses), palaces, groups of architectu- 
rally connected buildings, monasteries etc. We have 
already spoken about the way the architects 
approach the problem of ancient building when 
reconstructing towns ; the work of the architect and 
the artist is of a still more responsible nature when 
they have to restore the ancient monuments them- 
selves. The difficulties are many, the damage 
wrought by this war surpasses everything known to 
history and then the nature of the monuments 
themselves is so varied that in each case the problem 
has to be tackled separately. The restoration and 
preservation of national monuments is the work of 
the Committee on Architecture set up by the Council 
of People’s Commissars of the U.S.S.R. As this body 
is ultimately responsible for the reconstruction of the 
towns and villages the restoration and preservation 
of monuments forms part of the general programme. 
The plans for the reconstruction of Kalinin, Smolensk, 
Istra and other towns, as we have already seen, 
show the care and attention which the architect 
bestows on relics of the past. The war has taught 
us a severe lesson and brought changes in the line of 
thought which, enraptured with everything new, 
often sacrificed the old unnecessarily and replaced it 
with new and not always good productions. 

Nobody expected to see old buildings in their 
present state, nobody would have believed that they 
could have been so ruthlessly damaged or left as 
heaps of ruins ; therefore the number of artists and 
other restoration workers available was far from 
sufficient. The country did not train large number 
of specialists in such work, there never before having 
been any need for them. Our young architects are 



THE RESTORATION OF SOVIET CULTURE 9 ? 

busy at this work and we are training a number of 
special restoration workers as quickly as we can. 

In addition to the Government measures adopted 
to train workers the initiative of the local authorities 
also plays a great part. In the autumn of 194S 
when Leningrad was still within range of the enemy 
guns a school of “art- Architecture” was established 
to train workers in relief carving in marble and 
wood, plaster moulding, interior decorating and 
similar arts required for the work of restoration. 
The students did practical work by copying frag- 
ments of the fine palaces of Pavlovsk and Tsarskoe 
Selo (now Detskoye Selo), learning from the great 
artists of the past and reconstructing in every detail 
the valuable fragments of 18th century buildings. 
The teachers were astounded at the rapidity with 
which the youngsters learned to do their work. “They 
learn in a few months what it would take an adult 
years to master,” .they say. In the summer of 1944 
the pupils of this school took part in restoring 0e 
ceiling of the Kirov Opera House which had been 
damaged by German gunfire. 

These preparations enable us to begin work right 
now on the restoration of some monuments. Acade- 
mician Shchusev, who is famous for his drawings of 
a restoration of the 12th century Church of St. 
Basil at Ovruch made on the basis of archaeological 
excavations, has drawn up plans for the restoration 
of the Cathedral of the New Jerusalem Monastery, 
the first victim of German vandalism and one that 
has suffered very badly. In Leningrad there is 
scarcely a building of any importance that did not 
suffer from German gunfire. Work has begun on the 
restoration of the Admiralty building, the Winter 
and Taurus Palaces and the building of the Her- 
mitage Museum. . ; u- ■. 

The Ukrainian Government has allotted a. million 
rubles for work on the buildings which surround' the. 

7 



98 


REBUILDING LIBERATED RUSSIA 


Cathedral of St. Sophia in Kiev and which suffered 
at the hands of the invaders ; the Ukrainian branch 
of the Academy of Architecture has entrusted the 
direction of the work to Professor V. I. Zabolotny, 
a Stalin Prize Winner, and Professor P.F. Pleshin. 
The Cathedral itself and such 17th and 18th buildings 
as the Bell-Tower, the Gate Chapel, the Metropoli- 
tan’s House and the wall around the group will be 
tackled first. 

The city of Novgorod the Great, the Museum City 
of Russia, contained more historical monuments than 
any of our other cities. The state of the city when 
liberated caused alarm amongst all art lovers : over 
70 monuments were badly damaged or completely 
ruined by the invaders. Historical buildings which 
stood in the Vicinity of the Red Army lines and 
which were not used for military purposes by the 
Red Army were almost completely levelled with the 
ground by German artillery fire ; the ruins of the 
cliches of Nereditsa, Volotov and Kovalev are 
samples of the Germans’ work. The monuments that 
were within the German defences such as the Cathe- 
dral of St. George, the Yuriev Monastery, the Church 
of the Transfiguration of the Saviour with its frescoes 
by the great master Feofan Grek, the Church of the 
Nativity and others were not damaged by Soviet 
gunfire although they were used by the Germans as 
guu and machine-gun emplacements to rain death 
down upon the troops of the Red Army. 

The restoration and preservation of the monument- 
al buildings of Novgorod began on 10th May, 1944. 
The town Soviet which met on 6th June, 1944, dealt 
in detail with the many problems that arise in 
this work. 

Before the war Novgorod was a district centre of 
Leningrad Region,* its political and administrative 

^Novgorod has since been made the capital of Novgorod 
Region and separated administratively from Leningrad (trans.) 



THE RESTORATION OF SOVIET CULTURE - 9t 

importance had grown and came into contradiction 
with the museum character of the city. The rest©, 
ration, therefore, must not only preserve all the 
historical monuments in the city but must rebuild it 
with a view to its further development. Many seo- 
tions of Novgorod were completely destroyed only the 
foundations of old and new buildings remaining. It 
offers the planning architects a very alluring possi- 
bility of planning a new city in the old style, with 
radial streets running from the Kremlin in the centre, 
and at the same time to leave the ancient churches 
in advantageous positions instead of their being 
hidden by new buildings as they were before the war. 

The restoration of Novgorod is in the hands of 
Academician Shchusev who knows and loves old 
Russian architecture. His plan provides for the 
reconstruction of the city according to the old 
system of town planning — with modern improve- 
ments, of course — the widened central artery being 
the street which runs from the Kremlin across the 
Volkhov Bridge to the old trading section of the city ; 
the main motor highway will by-pass the city on 
the Leningrad arterial highway ; the banks of the 
River Volkhov will be built up and faced. The 
spaces around the finest historical monuments will be 
laid out as gardens so that a view of the buildings 
can be obtained. Some groups of historical monu- 
ments will become state reservations ; these latter 
include the territory of the Kremlin and the territory 
of the Yaroslav Palace on the opposite side of the 
river. 

The architecture of the almost completely des- 
troyed city offers greater problems. Architects 
quite right by rejecting the Philistine ‘Shop- 
keeper* type of architecture in favour of the 
style known as “Provincial Empire” which was more 
chdrac teristic of the old town. Architects are also 
toying with the idea of completely restoring the old 



100 


REBUILDING LIBERATED RUSSIA 


monuments — that is; use their stories and bricks 
tq build up full scale “models” of the original build- 
ings exactly as we Knew them before the war. 

Art historians, archaeologists and historians have 
raised their voices against this interpretation of 
ttie task of restoring Novgorod ; they are of the 
opinion that the city would be so full of “Counter- 
feits” that the genuine monuments to the past would 
be lost amongst them. They recommend the archi- 
tects to preserve the most valuable of the old build- 
ings and to avoid the danger of using pseudo- 
historical styles in their new buildings. There are 
also objections to the erection of buildings in the 
classical style which are quite in place in Leningrad 
or Kalinin ; as they are by no means characteristic 
of Novgorod. Scholars are of the opinion that in 
rebuilding the old museum-city of Russian National 
Culture the architect’s main task is to provide 
uppretensious buildings which will not clash with 
the spirit of the city. Art historians and archaeolo- 
gists protest against the restoration of buildings 
that have been completely destroyed and want to 
see the ruins preserved as ruins; they should be kept 
under cover, homed in glass, for example, all records 
of the buildings should be carefully preserved and 
local museums to exhibit surviving fragments of 
mural painting, decoration etc., should be organ- 
ised, Scholars point out the advisability of plan- 
ning the new city of Novgorod so that the historical 
monuments will have favourable positions enabling 
them to be viewed from a distance or at close quar- 
ters. Scholars also want to see the sites that offer 
the greatest interest to archaeologists left free of 
buildings for their post-war work. 

Such discussions as these concerning the resto- 
ration of old Russian cities of the type of Novgorod 
wjll lead to that solution of the problem that is the 
most rational, as each of too opinions is an expression 



THE RESTORATION OF SOVIET CULTURE 3# 

of love for the monuments to Russia’s past and a 
desire to heal as quickly as possible those wounds 
that the Germans barbarians have inflicted on these 
monuments. 

We have made a very careful study of the experi- 
ence of the British and French restoration workers 
and have found very many valuable solutions to 
problems and also recipes which we are using. 



102 


REBUILDING LIBERATED RUSSIA 


CONCLUSION 

In concluding this little booklet I should like to 
warn the reader of one circumstance which is beyond 
the author’s control. By the time the booklet appears 
much that I have written will be “Out of Date.” A 
book on this subject can never be quite uptodate 
for everyday brings to light new facts which bear 
evidence of the ever-growing enthusiasm of the build- 
ers, of new communities that have been rebuilt, 
of new plans for the restoration of cities and of correc- 
tions and improvements made in already existing 
plans. Only a newspaper or the constantly growing 
diary of the scholar who is collecting material for 
the History of the Epoch of the Great Patriotic War 
and the Period of Reconstruction which is to follow 
can hope to keep pace with the work. This “defect” 
in the booklet is the best proof of what I have tried 
to show — the tempestuous rate at which the liberated 
regions are being restored to normal, a fact that is 
due to the tremendous creative energy of the people 
multiplied by the organ ; sational strength of the 
Soviet State which incorporates representatives of 
the sciences and the arts into the army of builders. 



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